Holy Trinity wins prestigious State Latin Forum


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Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy students finished in first place overall at the 70th annual State Latin Forum of the Florida Junior Classical League.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of Michelle Salyer

Studying classical languages such as Latin and Greek has

long been standard for students seeking higher education.

Today, these languages have seen a decline in elementary and high schools. That’s not the case at some schools, where students are learning and thriving in both Latin and Greek.

The 70th annual State Latin Forum of the Florida Junior Classical League (FJCL) was held April 5 and 6 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort and Convention Center. Schools from around the state came together to celebrate Latin and Greek and to compete in a variety of challenges throughout the event.

Among the 48 schools in attendance, Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy was guided by teachers Adam Mize and Silvana Wilbur; Timothy O’Flaherty led West Shore Junior/Senior High School; and Anna Glenn guided Edgewood Junior/Senior High School.

At the conclusion of the Forum, Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy (HTEA) finished in first place overall. Five students received special recognition and three others won Best of Show, the highest overall score of any student at the Forum.

The five special recognition winners were:

• Amelia DeVries

• Fefe Montalvo

• William Graham

• Jackson Riggs

• Charlotte Varnes

The three Best in Show winners were:

• Mia Garvey in Roman Customs

• Colin McLaughlin in Classical Geography

• Charlotte Varnes in Greek Derivatives

One of the most difficult and exciting competitions within the FJCL is the Certamen, a test of speed and skill in which students are placed on teams and are asked a variety of questions. Students must be the fastest to press a buzzer and provide a timed answer.

The questions in the Certamina (the plural of Certamen, a Latin neuter noun of the third declension, which means a struggle) range from obscure grammar to classical mythology.

“This particular team developed a strong bond during practice and really encouraged each other to practice and study,” said Mize, who teaches classics at Holy Trinity.

“They practiced in my room dozens of times before the State Forum and they were self-motivated. So, I didn't have to twist their arms to practice. Certamen, obviously, involves knowledge, but frequent practice helps you react quickly and predict questions. Some teams just have a good rapport and they're better because of it. All the kids on that team are really close now.”

Mize worked alongside Wilbur, a fellow instructor at Holy Trinity,  to prepare the students for the FJCL. With the victory, some Holy Trinity students will compete in the national competition at North Dakota State University.

“Some of our students will prepare for Nationals now and much of that will happen over the summer,” Mize said. “Some will practice Latin speeches, take practice tests, read study books, etc.

“I've been attending the State Forum for over 20 years, 12 as a teacher, and this is the first time I've ever come in first place. So, it meant a great deal,” Mize added. “My students worked really hard this year and I'm proud of how they studied and came together as a team.” VV