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RHS Latin Students Compete at University of Pennsylvania Latin Quiz-Bowl Event

Theo He, Jacob Kellerman, Will Curley, Mackenzie Rose, Eliza Goodchild, Anrui Xu, Dylan Feher (photo by Dr. Donal McGay) 

On Saturday, March 18, 2023, seven Radnor High School Latin students traveled to the University of Pennsylvania to compete in UPenn’s first-ever Certamen – a Latin “quiz bowl” event. Local Latin students from Pennsylvania and New Jersey as well as students from as far away as Washington D.C. and Brooklyn, N.Y. convened at UPenn to vie for quiz bowl champion. Quiz questions covered mythology, ancient history, culture, translation, vocabulary and derivatives. Over 30 teams, in two levels of difficulty, Novice and Intermediate, competed - 3 groups at a time - in two preliminary rounds, followed by semi-final and final rounds.  Much like Hi-Q, students raced to answer questions while buzzing in with hand-held signaling devices. 

RHS fielded two teams. Ninth graders Dylan Feher, Eliza Goodchild, Mackenzie Rose and Anrui Xu made up the Novice Team, while 11th graders Will Curley, Theodore He and Jacob Kellerman represented Radnor in the Intermediate level. With only a few weeks to prepare for the event – the Certamen was announced in February – the RHS students held their own against more seasoned Certamen contestants. The intermediate squad just missed the semi-finals by a few points, while the Novice team cruised into the semi-finals finishing fourth overall. Ninth grader Anrui Xu remarked: “We were statistically fourth place, as we had the fourth most preliminary points, earned the most semifinal points of any team that wasn't in the final three, and we earned the fourth most points in total across the whole tournament. We were also the only team to score at least 80 points in every round we played.” 

When asked if they would like to compete in future “Certamina,” RHS Latin students cheered a resounding

“YES!”. Eleventh grader, Jacob Kellerman said, “My favorite moments from the tournaments were having the opportunity to be surrounded by other Latin students and people interested in Classics.  I really enjoyed the experience and am looking forward to competing at more Certamens: whether at different colleges or at practice competitions among local high schools.” 

RHS Latin teacher and now “Certamen coach,” Dr. Donal McGay, was pleased by the performance of his students. “Radnor has never participated in an event like this before, so this was very much an exploratory mission for us. But after seeing the excitement of the students, their ability to work together as a team, and their desire to compete, we will definitely look into creating Radnor Certamen teams for future events. I observed that some teams had members that specialized in mythology or history or in translating Latin. We will have to strategize in a similar fashion to compete with other schools.”