Latin is brought back to life in Richmond, VA

Alison Pichney | Raider Staff

Lynn Krepich, Andrew Abbott, Christine Mayo, Claire McGuinness, Kylie Bowers, and Cameron Suttie attend the
Latin convention in Richmond on November 18. Photo courtsey of Mike Krepich.

Despite being dubbed a “dead language” by historians around the world, Latin is in no way dead and Loudoun County High School is part of the reason why. The Junior Classical League of Virginia holds an annual Latin convention in Richmond, VA, which thousands of students, teachers, and colleagues attend. Knowledge is shared, and Latin students from all over Virginia get to show off their skills.

This year, five Latin students attended the convention in Richmond. Lynn Krepich, the Latin teacher at LCHS, was their chaperone. “This was my fifteenth year attending the convention,” Krepich said. “I first heard about the convention from colleagues and the Junior Classical League since I am apart of the American Classical League. I knew it would be a great opportunity for students from the start.”

Other students feel the same. Kylie Bowers, a senior at LCHS, said, “I’ve attended the convention two years, my senior and sophomore year. The Latin Convention is really cool because when you show up, thousands of other Latin students are present amongst you.”

This can be somewhat of a nerve-wracking situation, but Bowers said that having people around you who share a passion for Latin makes the situation all the more heartwarming. Having this platform to distribute ideas with other students from around the state isn’t the only way that students benefit from this event.

“Students that attend can be given certificates and awards of merits that can be put toward college applications and governor school applications,” Krepich said. “The entire place is just infused with the Latin spirit, and knowing that the parents of these students are just as enthusiastic to drive their kids to Richmond as I would just warms my heart.”

The convention lasts for two days, but is packed with plentiful activities and competitions to encourage the spread and awakening of the Latin language.

Once at the convention, Latin students have the opportunity to compete in tests that range from grammar to mythology which they can place in, and events such as storytelling, dramatic interpretation, oratory, arts and crafts, and costume contests.

Thousands of students from other schools participated in the tests, but LCHS students placed exceptionally well. Bowers placed fourth in storytelling, Cameron Suttie, a sophomore, placed first for his level in academic pentathlon, and Christine Mayo, another sophomore, placed first for her level in life and culture.

“Placing in storytelling is fun because it feels good that you studied a story and shared it with teachers who know what you’re talking about,” Bowers said.

Bowers also participated in the Roman history, life and culture, derivative, vocabulary, mythology, and mottos tests. “The tests are meant to be challenging, but if you know the subject it comes pretty easily,” she said.

“I am so proud of our Latin students whose spirit and enthusiasm are remarkable for learning Latin and the fields related to the classics,” Krepich said. “They have great passion for learning all aspects of this language. Their efforts put LCHS on the map for classical endeavors.”

“When you go in to take your test and compete in other contests, you have to give it your all to place,” Bowers said. “Everything is super competitive. But there is also a feeling of a bond because everyone loves Latin as much as you.”

Krepich looks forward to next year’s competition. “I judged oratory this year and learned some techniques useful to coach students for next year’s competition. It is helpful to witness other students’ performances to gauge the level and quality of the competition.”

The Latin Convention is a place for Latin to come alive once again and for students, teachers, and colleagues to distribute ideas amongst each other, bettering everyone’s skills and thoughts about the language.