Upper School | Gr. 9-12
Upper School Stories & Photos

Severn's Junior Classical League Hosts Maryland Regional Certamen

This November, Severn welcomed over a hundred students from local area schools to compete in a certamen — a trivia tournament about ancient Greek and Roman history and culture. One of many activities sponsored by Severn’s chapter of the Junior Classical League, the competition brought young Latin aficionados from all over Maryland to put their Classical knowledge to the test.

What is the Junior Classical League?

The Junior Classical League (JCL) is a national organization for students of Latin to learn more about the language, history and culture of the Greco-Roman world. At Severn, Latin teacher Ms. Elisabeth Campbell serves as the faculty advisor to support club members in planning and leading a variety of activities.
“This is the club's 3rd year and we are trying to make it very active with a lot of things to do. We had a toga party, made bullae (protective amulets), and are planning a Saturnalia celebration before winter break. We also hold Severn certamina throughout the year. Because I am the only Upper School Latin teacher, students who take the language are with the same group of kids for three years; the club helps bring us together.” — Ms. Elisabeth Campbell
Severn School students with their teacher.
Ms. Campbell with a small group of JCL club members: Brandon Taub '23, Grace Curtis ‘23, Henry Salinas ‘23, Matthew Beagan ‘20, Henry Stoer ‘20, Blake Hoyt ‘23 and Jack Litchman '23.
“I like being in the club because it’s something different. I get to learn new things and it helps with my actual Latin; it’s like a fun way of studying that I get to do outside of class.” — Grace Curtis '23

Certamen For Everyone

According to the JCL website, “Certamen is a quiz-bowl style game for students of Latin, Greek, and Classical civilizations. It allows students to demonstrate their knowledge of the ancient peoples, languages, and cultures, and the relationships between those topics and the modern world. The matches are fun, competitive, informative, and compelling for students.” Before hosting the larger tournament, the club set up a local certamen for Severn students. They staged a short competition during Upper School morning meeting with a presentation that both entertained the crowd and spread the word about the club.
Severn School teacher presents at a conference.
Daniel Babalola ‘21 passes the microphone to certamen contestant Matthew Beagan ‘20.
They also traveled to compete. At the first Maryland JCL certamen of the year hosted by Eleanor Roosevelt High School, freshmen Patrick Clifford, Margaret Cravens, Henry Salinas, and William Toomey placed second in the novice competition. Julia Youssef ’21 and Danica Williams ’20 placed second in the advanced competition — bringing home the first trophy Severn has won at that level. 
Severn School students at a Latin competition.
Back row: Will Toomey '23, Patrick Clifford '23, Henry Salinas '23, Danica Williams '20. Front row: Margaret Cravens '23 and Julia Youssef '21.

Severn’s First Large-Scale Competition

Following these other events, Saturday November 23rd marked our first time hosting fellow Latin enthusiasts on Teel Campus. As organizers of this regional certamen, our JCL crew set up twelve classrooms to host the trivia sessions, organized lunch for the participants, and worked as scorers and runners. Although they couldn’t formally answer the trivia questions, they still got a lot from the sessions. Club volunteers included:
  • Daniel Babalola ‘21
  • Matthew Beagan '20
  • Alex Brenia '22
  • Patrick Clifford '23
  • Tristan Collins '22
  • Margaret Cravens '23
  • Grace Curtis '23
  • Campbell Grimes '22
  • Mason Howell '21
  • Maddie Howell '23
  • Blake Hoyt '23
  • Wesley Ingrao '22
  • Jack Litchman '23
  • Emma O'Leary '23
  • Henry Salinas '23
  • Maddie Skinner '21
  • Konner Smith '23
  • Henry Stoer '20
  • Brandon Taub '23
  • William Toomey '23
  • Cam Vernon '22
  • Madi Vernon '23
  • Danica Williams '20
“I scored an advanced level session and there were definitely some questions that I wasn’t sure of, but I wasn’t completely stumped. Advanced questions cover things from Latin 3, 4 and AP so some of it is pretty tough. But it’s fun because you’re essentially learning while you’re scoring.” — Henry Stoer ‘20


About Upper School Clubs

With our Upper School club program, we encourage students to develop their passions through unique opportunities for intellectual and social growth. Students can practice leadership skills, make friends outside of their typical peer groups, and dive into their interests in a fun and relaxed, but structured environment with the support of a faculty advisor. JCL is one of over forty student-led clubs available for our students.

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Lower School

Preschool-Grade 5
Chesapeake Campus
1185 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd
Arnold, MD 21012

Middle/Upper School

Grade 6-12
Teel Campus
Severna Park, MD 21146