Seventh- and eighth-grade students from The Riverside School in Lyndonville travelled to Dover, N.H. to participate in the Granite State Certamen recently. The seventh-grade team took second place in the Introductory Latin competition, beaten only by the team from Philips Exeter Academy.
This regional certamen, organized as part of the National Junior Classical League, is a quiz-bowl style competition, where four-person teams answer questions about Latin grammar, Roman culture, mythology and classical history. Riverside had never attended an NJCL event before. Latin teacher Roy Starling has significant experience in coaching certamen teams at other schools and is passionate about developing Riverside's teams.
Starling described both his teams as having greatly exceeded his expectations for first time competitors, "Seventy percent of the questions are extra-curricular, and so independent research and team practice are what really make the difference. I'm so impressed that our students had the timing, confidence, and knowledge to answer a few questions, considering this was their first experience in a certamen event."
The Riversiders were the only Vermont students present, competing against mostly high school teams from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. They were one of only two teams of middle school students.
Said Riverside eighth-grader Angela Kubicke, "It was really cool to be in a room full of people who were passionate about Latin and fired up to compete against each other."
Riversiders will take this passion to the annual Latin Day competition in April, organized by the classics department at the University of Vermont, an event in which they've been participating since the school began in 1981. They are also hoping to compete at the Harvard Certamen, the Northern New England Latin Forum, the National Latin Forum in Atlanta, and maybe even host a certamen event in their school's new barn.