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The Yale Certamen holds a reputation as one of the hardest competitions of the year for Latin League teams, and this year, THHS’s sophomore team managed to make it into the semifinals, as did one of the junior teams.
Pressures are high before these competitions, especially for the sophomores, who have only been taking Latin for a few months.
Sophomore Sarah Gafur said, “It was overall an enriching experience. We became closer with the team as a whole, got acquainted with other competitors, and got to experience the Yale campus.”
Senior and team member Hema Venkata said, “I’m proud of the fact that the sophomore team made Semifinals with only two months of Latin classes, and a little more than a month of certamen practices and self-studying.”
She added, “I’m also proud of the juniors, both returning members and members that just started with certamen. One of the two junior teams made Semifinals. They all got experience and know what to expect for the next certamen.”
Latin League is quite different from the Latin class students are required to take as part of their curriculum. Latin teacher Jonathan Owens explained, “For kids who don’t do well in Latin, they do well in Latin League because there’s a different skill set involved.”
Mr. Owens then noted how Latin League develops what its members learn in their Latin class. “We get significantly more into culture. The way we structure Latin at this school, we only have two years to get as much grammar into your brains as we can. We don’t have the time to expand it as we would like to.”
At the weekly gatherings, the members of Latin League often play a Quiz Bowl type of game to practice for the competitions. “It’s nice to see the students having fun with it,” Mr. Owens reflected.
“It’s competitive, so it brings out the fun– or the stress, depending on how you look at it,” he joked.