Vincere: Winning Big in Latin

State Latin Convention gives students opportunities to expand their classical knowledge and connect with students
Award winning students pose for photo with their medals. Students won medals for competitions including vocabulary and grammar to ancient mythology.

The Latin club is open to all students studying Latin. Throughout the year it hosts parties, holds fundraisers and attends competitions. This year, the club has gone above and beyond at large scale events surrounding Latin studies. 

The Latin club attended the State Latin Convention at Anderson High School April 5 and 6. This convention included 90 school groups and around 1,150 Latin students. 

The two-day event is put on by student officers in the Texas State Junior Classical League and acts as a way to bring together students from around Texas to connect, compete and go to workshops all surrounding the Latin language and classical civilization. Events don’t just include Latin grammar and vocabulary, but also Greek and Roman mythology, history, Roman life, ancient art and architecture.

Junior Siena Brennan, who is the secretary of the Latin Club, speaks on her experience in the Latin club and on attending the convention. 

“[This year], we went to the State Convention, which is the second leg up from the area convention for the junior classical league,” Brennan said. 

Attending state Latin competitions also opens students up for opportunities to compete nationally in the future. If a student wins the highest points in their school in a specific competition at area, then they progress to state for that competition. Eventually, through this process, students can move their way all the way to nationals. 

Although contests are competed by individual students and each student has an individual score, scores also pool up and go towards awards for each representing school.

“You compete in your own respective contests but there [are] also sweepstakes points, which means all the points accumulated by everybody in your school. We’re all added up then whatever school has the most wins [is awarded] sweepstakes,” Brennan said.

This year, the Chap Latin club ranked second in the state with a total of 502 sweepstakes points, placing higher than every other public and private Austin-area school.

During these competitions at the event, Brennan competed in sight resuscitation, meaning Latin sight reading, and mythology. She ended her competition placing third place in sight resuscitation. Outside of just competitions, there are a ton of non-competitive events for people to meet other Latin students and learn. Brennan’s favorite part of the convention is called the agora. 

“It’s essentially this little market where all the different Latin clubs can bring little trinkets and stuff to sell. This year, I got a pin with a Latin quote on it,” Brennan said. “There is also a talent show which is always fun to [watch] and certamen which means competition. It’s a general Latin knowledge competition.”

Every year, before the convention begins, students start off the event strong with a field trip.

“We go on a field trip [before we go to the competition]. This year, we went to the Vault Museum of Art and UT,” Brennan said. “We got to work with the classics department there and got some knowledge about how classics work at UT so that was fun!”

After the field trip, they arrived at Anderson High School for the convention. 

“Friday night, [we] take the pentathlon which is all [about] general Latin knowledge. Then there are also some [more] specific contests that happen on Friday,” Brennan said.

Although Latin students do a lot on Friday, the bulk of the convention’s events occur on Saturday. 

“Saturday, everything starts at about eight-ish and runs till about 10, so we’re there all day. It’s [when most] of the competitions happen and all the colloquia, which are the presentations, happen. The award ceremony [and] vocal and performance contests happened [on] Saturday,” Brennan said.

Brennan went on to mention the importance of putting oneself out there and joining the club. 

“A lot of people think that to be in a Latin club you have to be good at Latin but you really don’t,” Brennan said. “I’m taking Latin four this year, which is the highest you can go other than five, [but that] is post AP, and I wasn’t really good at Latin until this year. However, I have been in the club for several years, and I enjoyed it every single year. So even if you’re not good at Latin, I say ‘go’.”

Following the convention, Chap students took the National Latin Exam. Over 100,000 students in a total of 26 counties took this large scale exam. The Chaps continued excellence by doing exceptionally well. A total of 67% of Westlake’s participants in the exam won an award this year. 

From competitions and exams to field trips and fun, the Latin Club offers its students a wide variety of opportunities surrounding classical studies.

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