Five Upper Dublin High School students won 33 awards from the National Junior Classical League Convention and Latin language competition in Ohio this month.
The convention was held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, from July 28 to Aug. 2. More than 1,000 students from across the nation represented their schools' Latin clubs and explored their love for the language by competing in sports, Latin academic testing and the arts.
Upper Dublin students Katie Blood, Jenny Chen, Devin Kees, Charlotte Weinstein and Julie Zauzmer attended the convention. The five returned home with awards in categories ranging from photography, swimming, dramatic interpretation, academic testing, essay writing, sight reading of Latin, graphic arts projects and swimming.
The Upper Dublin Team traveled to the convention with Mary Jane Koons, Upper Dublin advisor for the Junior Classical League and Latin teacher for Upper Dublin High School.
Koons said Upper Dublin was the only school in Pennsylvania to send students to the national convention this year. The Upper Dublin team also competed in the state Junior Classical League Convention at Penn State University in May.
Koons said the students' preparation for the Latin games started with their participation at the state convention's contest in Latin related history and vocabulary testing, graphic and creative arts and athletics.
Koons has been taking students to the conventions since about 1998 and encourages them to participate because, she said, it provides them with a unique learning and bonding experience and a positive exchange of ides.
"I feel that they are able to extend their skills and knowledge beyond the classroom and learn so much by doing it. Also, at the convention itself the students are able to associate with Latin students from other states," Koons said.
Weinstein, a senior at the high school, attended the national convention for the third time. Weinstein earned fourth place in sight Latin reading poetry and won third place for dramatic interpretation of a passage from the Aeneid. Weinstein, who has been taking Latin classes since seventh grade, said she enjoys meeting other students interested in Latin.
Weinstein said each of the students who attended scored in the top five for at least one event each.
"It's really exciting because Latin is one of the smaller languages at our school, so it is nice to see a group of people who are interested in the same subject," she said.
Weinstein and Zauzmer both competed in the creative arts and won awards for oratories and dramatic interpretation. Weinstein placed 10th overall, and Zauzmer placed sixth.
Zauzmer has taken Latin since eighth grade. This was her third year attending the convention, and she won third place overall for editing a newsletter - The Keystone - for the state's Junior Classical League.
Zauzmer said she enjoys acting in Latin during the dramatic interpretation contests and looks forward to attending each year.
"Once you go you have to go back. The convention makes you see that there is no way that Latin is a dead language," Zauzmer said.