Long live the chariots

The old Stratford Latin club chariot that was found by the shed near the track.  It’s in quite suitable condition, despite the many years of exposure to rain and nature. (Photo by TEJAS ATHNI, Gazebo Correspondent)

By TEJAS ATHNI, Gazebo Correspondent

It’s true. Latin is a dead language.

However, the Latin Club is far from dead.

When Mr. Brian Wells began teaching Latin at Stratford Academy at the beginning of the fall semester, he mentioned something special in all of his classes.

It was something that lit a fire in his eyes when he spoke about it, and something he truly loved.

It was Latin Club.

After years of not having a Latin Club at Stratford, Mr. Wells opened up the sign-up sheets and began the revival process.

In the past, it had been a recreational club, with a focus on watching movies rather than competitive Latin.  This year, under the leadership of Mr. Wells, the club has started its preparations for the upcoming big competition of the year– LatinCon.

“The reason I love Latin Club is because we get to do everything,” Mr. Wells said. “We get to be creative. We get to be athletic. We get to be academic.  We’re not constrained by our topic because our topic is an entire way of life.  And because Latin’s awesome. Hail Caesar!”

LatinCon, short for Latin Convention, is a program which entails schools competing with each other in the field of Latin studies.  It will take place from April 15-17 at the Rock Eagle 4H campground in Eatonton, Ga.  Ranging from creative art projects to competitive grammar team tournaments, LatinCon has something for every Latin student.

One of the competitions which are included in the convention is a chariot race. Students must build a chariot that can hold one person inside and can be pulled by four people.  Each school’s chariot will then compete in an intense race against other schools’ chariots.

Vaughn pulled the old chariot all the way across the cross country trail in order to take it home to refurbish for LatinCon 2016.  On his journey, he had to cross multiple water-flooded trails — almost like crossing a river. (Photo by TEJAS ATHNI, Gazebo Correspondent.)

Sophomore Tripp Vaughn has started the process of building a chariot for the school’s competitive Latin team. “I was looking through the LatinCon rules and I found the chariot race,” Vaughn said.  “After talking to Mr. Wells and Mr. Mike Kelley, I found out that we had an old chariot by the track shed from a few years back.  I took it home, and I am excited to refurbish and race it.”

Latin Convention also includes a competitive “certamen” team. Certamen includes a trivia-style competition with four-person teams. Questions in certamen include facts about Roman daily life, Roman emperors and war heroes, and Latin grammar. With the top students in all of Mr. Wells’ Latin classes joining forces in the school’s competitive certamen team, Mr. Wells is hoping to bring home the gold for Stratford.

LatinCon also encourages a great deal of creativity while making one’s poster-presentation project.  Sophomore Emily Fackler has currently been working on a hairstyle project for the LatinCon creative arts project.

“I’m doing a cultural project on the evolution of Roman fashion with the focus specifically on hairstyles,” Fackler said.  “With Riley Grossnickle and Eliza Freedman as models, we’re going to take pictures of various hairstyles, makeup, and jewelry and put it on a timeline.  This project will also help show the evolution of Roman society and politics as a whole.”

Not only are there academic competitions and creative arts projects in LatinCon, there are also athletic tournaments.  For example, ultimate frisbee is included as an athletic competition.

“I’m really excited about LatinCon,” sophomore Mark Barrow said. “It’s going to be a whole weekend of endless activities!”

“Honestly, I’m just excited to have the Latin students go (to LatinCon),” said Mr. Wells. “I want to show the students that it’s not weird to study Latin and people are quite passionate about it.”