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Students from Hill Country Middle School and Westlake High School brought home top honors from a recent state Latin competition in Flower Mound, Texas.

Venimus; lusimus; vicimus – “We came; we played; we conquered”– could have been printed on a banner held high by Eanes school district students at a recent Texas State Junior Classical League Latin State Convention at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas.

“Certamen is a fast, challenging game in which students are asked questions in Latin and English on topics that range from grammar and vocabulary to history, mythology and ancient geography,” said Natalie Cannon, Latin teacher and Junior Classical League sponsor. “It is played with a buzzer system and is similar to an academic quiz-bowl game.”

Only teams that win first place at their area conventions are allowed to play at state.

“Both of the Westlake teams made it into finals during the first elimination round of play, which is pretty impressive,” Cannon said.

Westlake High School brought along its largest contingency thus far to the event – 113 competitors. The Intermediate Certamen Team led by Saarila Kenkare came in second, the Advanced Certamen Team led by Owen Smitherman and Laura Bryant came in third. The Westlake team ranked fifth for all Austin-area schools. Eighty-eight Westlake students gook home summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude honors.

Westlake students earning summa cum laude honors were: Adam Anderson, Kathryn Anderson, Isaih Apfel, Laura Bryant, Marcus Chao, Saarila Kenkare, Shravika Lam, Connor Lightsey, Viraj Mehta, Michael Niemann, Jeffrey Pflueger, Elekos Praxis, Varun Rao, Owen Smitherman, Stephen Tames, John Thomas, Sarah Thompson and Grant West.

Westlake’s Maxson Boyd took home first place in catapult; Benjamin Hsu and Grant West earned first places in Greek derivatives; Bryson Kisner and Stephen Tames placed first in ancient geography; Shravika Lam placed first in mythology; Elekos Praxis earned first in vocal solo; Owen Smitherman placed first in Latin literature; and John Thomas placed first in advanced grammar.

The Hill Country Middle School Certamen Team. led by Luke Sang, won second place in state at the competition, and eighth in state in sweepstakes. The 28 competing Hill Country students also brought home high honors in a wide range of events, competing with 19 Texas middle schools and high schools. Seventeen HCMS students placed summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude in challenges that included vocabulary, reading comprehension, Greek and Latin derivatives, Roman life, Greek history, grammar, sight recitation and pentathlon.

Hill Country students winning the highest possible summa cum laude honor at the event were Kase Abbe, Matthew Anderson, Gryfuth Davis, Owen Graves, Jessie Ren, William Thomas and Isabella Zou. Charlie Boyd took home a first place in catapult; Owen Grant earned first place in grammar 1; and Luke Sang netted first place in Roman history.
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