Latin students competed in their first competition of the school year at St. Andrews Upper School in Austin, Saturday, Nov. 4.
“The main goal for the first competition is to gain experience,” Latin teacher Kyle Drugan said. “It is a great opportunity to compete against other schools in a challenging environment.”
According to Drugan, the competition was “strictly a quiz bowl tournament called Certamen.” Certamen includes questions over various topics, including: Latin grammar, mottoes, vocabulary, derivatives, mythology, Latin literature, Roman history and Roman life.
“I will be in advanced Certamen, which is a combination of Latin 3 through 5 students,” junior Lysandra Pecina said. “I am part of a team of four and will be focusing on grammar. In Certamen, if you’re not quick enough, you’ll mess up. With grammar it’s really hard because you have to get the endings correct.”
One of the ways Latin students prepare for competitions is by using flashcards prepared by Drugan on Quizlet.
“Mr. Drugan puts together really good study guides on Quizlet, and he shares them with all of his students,” sophomore Lan Nguyen said. “In my free time, I go on Quizlet [to study for Latin]. It’s kind of like my game.”
Latin students also practice for competitions by using the Certamen machine, a buzzer system with three teams of four buzzers each, before school and at weekly Latin Club meetings, according to Drugan.
“Every morning we have practices and we mainly focus on grammar lessons,” sophomore Arham Salman said. “We’re not really sure what the other team knows, so it’s better if we prepare extra so we can be one step ahead.”
According to Drugan, Latin hopes to make it to the state competition this year. The Texas State Junior Classical League Area competition will take place at Atascocita High School this February.
“Advancing to state is never easy because only one team from Houston is allowed to go,” Drugan said. “Although it will be difficult to achieve our goal, we have a talented group that is capable of winning.”