Latin I Novice Certamen Team Wins State Championship
The Latin I Certamen Team took first place in the Illinois State Certamen League Novice Division, defeating Hinsdale South High School in the finals in April. Novice team members include freshmen Alyanna Arlegui, Leo Brett, Derek Damasco, Ryan Dombrowski and Jonathan Merchan.
Certamen—the Latin word for "contest"—is a game of fast recall about classical civilization, including ancient people, languages, literature and culture. Certamen competitions are sponsored by the Illinois chapter of the National Junior Classical League, established in 1936 to encourage an interest in and appreciation of ancient Greece and Rome.
The team worked together to capture the state title. “During the rounds, there is never one person answering all of the questions for the toss ups or controlling the group's decision during bonus questions,” explains Ryan Dombrowski ‘20. “We all work together, trust each other and encourage each other...which allows us to answer quickly and concisely.”
"We encourage each other to answer the questions and to be confident in our answers," adds Jonathan Merchan '20.
Novice Latin team members showed tremendous dedication, practicing at least twice a week before the start of the school day since September. In February, the team was ranked first in the region. Of the five students on the novice team, not one has studied Latin before this year.
“They are self motivated and passionate about the Latin language, Roman history and Greco-Roman mythology,” says Latin team coach and language teacher Mrs. Becki Wick. “I am so privileged to work with students of such incredible commitment.” Mrs. Wick has taught Latin and Greek at Loyola since 1997.
“Latin team has been an amazing opportunity for me to do something academically challenging,” says Dombrowski. “I’m excited to get to continue working together with my teammates to prepare for nationals.”