Latin Club Members Celebrate a Busy February!

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By Kimberly Boyle, Emma Jones and Gregory Stringer

On Friday February 7th, a group of Burlington High Schools junior & senior latin students visited the Marshall Simonds Middle School here in Burlington. They offered a multi-faceted presentation to the 7th and 8th grade Latin students about Latin study at the high school.  First, the high school students performed two short skits in Latin (watch them here!), taken from the same Cambridge Latin books which the middle school students use.  Next, a few students recounted their own personal reasons for taking Latin and what the experience has meant to them, including especially how beneficial Latin has been in their academic lives. Then Mr. Stringer, BHS’ Latin teacher, took the floor and spoke briefly about his own experiences with Latin and in Rome where he once lived and worked as a professional tour guide, thanks to his Classical education. To finish off their presentation, the students presented a short video they had made during class. The video (available here) demonstrated a typical day in class and highlighted special activities in which students have participated in the past year. Hopefully, this visit will help further strengthen the growing Latin program at BHS and help create even more lifelong learners of the Latin language and the rich history and culture of the Roman Empire!

On Saturday, February 8th, three BHS Latin students, Senior Nick Fahey, Junior Shivesh Shah and Sophomore Stephen Clarke met Mr. Stringer in Boston to head to Boston Latin School and compete in Junior Classical League’s annual “Certamen” tournament.  Certamen, the Latin word for “contest,” is a quiz-bowl style trivia game in which schools from across Massachusetts engage in friendly competition regarding their knowledge of Latin and all things Roman.  This marked the first time that BHS has sent team to a Certamen event in several years.  While the competition was steep, some post game pizza help soothe some bruised egos and the students and their coach and are looking forward to returning to action at Brookline High in April!

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Finally, during the following week on Tuesday February 11th, Burlington High School Latin students and Latin Club members of all grades (9-12) took their annual field trip, this year to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The visit began with Mr. Stringer leading the students on a tour of the MFA’s world-class collection of Greco-Roman antiquities pertaining to all aspects of life in the Ancient World. During this tour, students were able to see first hand the kind of artifacts that previously they had only read about in the culture sections of their textbooks or seen on documentaries.  A highlight was undoubtedly the MFA’s recent acquisition of a 2nd Century AD statue of the Roman goddess Juno.  Standing over 13 feet tall and weighing about 6 tons, it is the largest work of Roman sculpture outside of the former Roman Empire!

After the general tour students broke off into “teams” with their designated chaperones and received an Activity Packet. Each team was assigned a color to wear:  red, green, blue or white–the four colors used for the teams in ancient Roman chariot races. Then the teams were sent to one of four different exhibits within the Museum where they completed tasks in the packet such as ancient coin and jewelry bingo and artifact case studies. Also, students were asked to describe and sketch their favorite item in the exhibits. After the trip, the members of the Green team, whose packets were deemed most complete by Mr. Stringer received a prize. There were also individual prizes for students who exhibited extraordinary achievement in each of the individual activities. The overall individual winner was junior, Marielle Parker, of the victorious Green team. The trip was very beneficial and incredibly enjoyable for all who attended!

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