February, although it is the shortest month of the year, named for the ancient Roman festival of purification, the Februa, it is somehow always the fullest month of events for Latin students at BHS.
BLS Certamen Outing
Firstly, Burlington Latin students travel each year to Boston Latin School for its annual Certamen tournament. Certamen, the Latin word for “competition,” is a quiz bowl style event drawing schools from all over the greater Boston area to test their knowledge of the Latin language, ancient history and classical mythology. The competition is always steep as for many of the schools which participate Latin is mandatory for every student. This year, Burlington brought two full teams to participate, one Intermediate and one Advanced, including Freshman Arya “Ioius” Nagraj, Sophomores Ashwini “Diana” Shinde, Liam “Perseus” Murphy, Kristin “Aurelia” Wolinski, Juniors Amanda “Flavia” McCombs, Rutvi “Anti-Loquax” Shah, and Seniors Marlea “Marlius” Gainley, and Latin Club co-consuls, Kevin “Scipio” Twohig and Shailin “Magna Avis” Shah. The BHS Certamen Squad continued making strides, winning their first-ever individual matches at this tournament and setting new records for scoring at this historically difficult competition. The Latin Club is looking forward to hosting its own certamen at BHS at some point in the near future.
Encaustic Painting Art Project
Next, on Wednesday, February 15th, in conjunction with Art Teacher and Department Head George Ratkovich, Latin V students spent the long block learning the ancient technique of encaustic painting. This method was widely used in Roman Egypt, especially for funeral portraits, examples of which students had seen on a past field trip to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The project was fun for all, even Magister Stringer got in on the action, painting his favorite character from the Lingua Latina text series – Magister Diodorus!
Poetry Out Loud Presentation
Also in February, as is tradition, the Latin Club co-Consul, Shailin Shah, presented the laurel wreath to BHS’ poet laureate. The presentation recalls the role of Apollo, Greco-Roman god of the arts and his sacred tree, the laurel, awarded to those make outstanding contributions to the arts. This year’s Poetry Out Loud winner, sophomore and fellow Latin student, Gati Aher, who will compete for the state championship in early March. Way to go Gati!
Magister Stringer in Texas… in Latin!
Over February break, Mr. Stringer first attended the Paideia Institute’s Living Latin in New York conference, the world’s single largest spoken Latin gathering, where he taught methods of active Latin teaching to students, professors and fellow Latin teachers from around the globe. Following that, a short vacation to Austin, Texas provided plenty of opportunities for Magister to produce more of his famous spoken Latin videos. Follow his adventures, in Latin, here!
Marshall Simonds Middle School Visit
Last but not least, on Tuesday, February 28th BHS’ Latin V students made their annual trek to Marshall Simonds Middle School to encourage 7th and 8th grade Latin students to continue their study as they make the transition to high school. The visit began with a brief introduction by MSMS first year Latin Teacher John Walsh, followed by an explanation by Mr. Stringer of his background and how and why he became a Latin teacher. Next, students watched a short, student produced video on what taking Latin at the high school looks like. (Watch it here!) Then, Mr. Stringer and his Latin students put on two short plays to demonstrate what studying Latin looks and sounds like at the high school, where students are taught to use all four communicative modes, including speaking and listening. After another short video promoting the bi-annual April break student trip to Rome, MSMS students then heard from the Latin seniors themselves about their experience as Latinists and why they felt it was valuable. The 7th and 8th graders were then encouraged to ask questions. The event was wrapped up with a brief meet and greet.