News from the Classics Department

By Adrianne Pierce, Classics Department Chair, MS DEI Coordinator

Let’s hear it for technology! Okay, I’m sure that’s not how you expected an article about the achievements of Classics students to begin, but bear with us. 

Because of technology in the world of Classics (how’s that for irony), our Latin and Greek students were able to engage in a variety of external competitions, and, as usual, they covered themselves in glory.

On the National Mythology Exam, formerly the Medusa Myth Exam, Sid Shah received a summa cum laude. Jad Benslimane and Thomas DeGirolami received a magna cum laude, and Afsana Dhali, Daniel Cai, and Travis Knaggs walked away with cum laude accolades. The theme this year was “Monstrous Mutations”, so students fielded questions about Medusa, Pegasus, and Scylla, to name a few mythological creatures. Middle School students took a version of the National Myth Exam called Pegasus, and their theme was the Odyssey. Nina Z. achieved a magna cum laude recognition.

Back in the fall, many Upper School students tried their hands at the National Classical Etymology Exam. Students’ performance was assessed according to their grade and level of Latin or Greek, and the exam tested their knowledge of the roots of English derivatives. Gold medal winners were Vanessa Restrepo, Thomas DeGirolami, Michael Lee, Sid Shah, Maggie Zhang, Daniel Shola-Philips, and Advith Sharma. Kevin Kim, Jad Benslimane, and Xander Hegyi took silver medals, and Austin Benedetto, Ethan Malik, and Zara Haider walked away with bronze.

All Middle and Upper School Latin students take the National Latin Exam, and they were joined by over 88,000 other Latin students from the United States and 20 other countries, including Belgium, the Philippines, Russia, Spain, and the UAE. For the first time this year, the Introduction to Latin students were granted the same awards as those at the other levels. Sixth grader Sebastian J. won a gold medal, and Olivia H., Rani B., and Isabella Z. won silver. David G. and Charlie C. took a magna cum laude award, and Riya M. and Lily H. received cum laude.

Upper School Latin 1 students joined the 7th grade class to take the Beginning Latin exam. Abigail N. and Shikhar M. took gold, while Juno Y. Josie Kelly, Fiona P., and Mason L. received silver medals. Sophie F. received a magna cum laude. On the Intermediate Latin exam, Nina Z., Katherine Chen, and Daniel Cai had gold medals, and Sam S. took silver. Tabithe Jones and Scarlett Kaplan received magna cum laude, and Rafael C. and Sarah Malach had cum laude certificates.

Reading comprehension was the focus of the upper level exams this year. Travis Knaggs had a silver medal, while Maggie Zhang, Allison Chin, and Sam Sanders took magna cum laude. Kirsten Trivell, Aidan Aybar, and Jad Benslimane were recognized with cum laude. Afsana Dhali and Mateen Nassirpour also achieved cum laude on the Advanced Prose exam. On the Advanced Poetry exam, Advith Sharma won gold, Zara Haider and Kiran Marfatia silver, and Daniel Shola-Philips received cum laude. Finally, on the Advanced Reading Comprehension exam, Thomas DeGirolami achieved gold, Sid Shah a magna cum laude, and Michael Lee a cum laude award.

Our Elementary Greek students jumped into the Beginning Attic Greek exam with both feet. Wes Neidhardt distinguished himself with the Highest award, yielding a blue ribbon. Sid Shah and Thomas DeGirolami received the red ribbon for their High awards, and Michael Lee earned a green ribbon for a Merit award.

After a year and a half of benign neglect, we are pleased to report that the Hackley archaeological dig site, Hackdigs, is back in business! Much bailing of water and cleaning out of leaves, rehoming a few frogs, and general maintenance, and we are back digging. As of this writing, most of our classes have made at least one visit, and the site is once again giving up great finds. Stay tuned for future pictures and updates in the fall.

It is bittersweet to write this final account of Hackley Classics. As this year comes to a close, I depart the Hilltop after 26 years knowing that the program is in great hands with Chris Sheppard at the helm. We welcome Kate Barnes to our ranks in September; she hails most recently from the Ph.D. program at Bryn Mawr and is excited to join the Hackley community.

ex animo,
Adrianne Pierce