Cave Equites Tiberis! (Beware the Knights of the Tiber!)

“quid sit futurum cras, fuge quaerere, et quem fors dierum cumque dabit, lucro appone,” in English, if you prefer, “Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.” These words of Horace, a Golden Age poet and satirist, in his Odes, were the theme of the 2013 National Junior Classical League (NJCL) convention, and were very applicable to the several Knights [drum roll] of the Tiber who boldly represented both Ohio and the St. Edward community at the convention at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas last July. Thinking not of the awards and honor which the future had in store, the Knights prepared diligently for convention, and took what came as gifts which the day had brought forth.

The NJCL convention is an annual event run by the NJCL, an organization of junior and senior high school students from local and state chapters across the US, Canada, and Australia sponsored by the American Classical League. The NJCL is the largest Classical organization in the world today with over 50,000 members. Its purpose is to evoke interest in and an appreciation for the language, literature and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to develop an understanding of the debt which our own culture owes to that of Classical antiquity.

“One glorious week to meet the most incredible high school-age individuals all over the country” says Will Beatrez ’15 about NJCL convention. Convention is one week long, and typically falls at the end of July. Contests range from academia, where young classicists test their knowledge in Latin or Greek grammar, literature, mythology, history, culture, or geography, to “ludi,” Latin for “games,” where conventioneers can stay active and compete in friendly athletic competitions in kickball, soccer, or track. However, what unifies the convention is the daily spirit contest before general assemblies, where delegations chant zealously in both Latin and English in costume for their state. Yet, the most exciting and anticipated part of convention is Certamen. Latin for “competition,” Certamen is best described as Academic Challenge for Latin. State teams compete against one another in tournaments at three levels, Novice/Latin I, Intermediate/Latin II, and Advanced/Latin III and IV in the areas of grammar, myth, history, and literature.

Among the Ohio delegation, were Knights Connor Tomshack ’14, Matt Martis ’14, Will Beatrez ’15, Sam Tollett ’16, Patrick Fox ’16, and Soren Gran ’16 who bravely represented both the St. Edward community and the State of Ohio. Beatrez was even a leading executive member of the Ohio board. In academics, the Knights saw much success. National titles were earned by Tomshack for the Heptatholon, a rigorous test combining seven areas of the classics, and for Grammar Level III, and by Beatrez for Grammar Level II. National runner-ups were awarded to Tomshack in the areas of Derivatives, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension. Tomshack even took tenth in overall academic sweepstakes. Beatrez placed in the top five in five of the eight academic contests he entered in. Fox placed tenth in Reading Comprehension & fifth in Impromptu Art. Gran too placed tenth in Reading Comprehension, as well as seventh in Dramatic Interp. & second in the Ninth Grade Essay contest. Tollett, who entered more contests & in a wider variety of areas than any other Knight, took tenth in Greek Life & Lit I, second in Pottery, eighth in Sculpture, and fifth & sixth in two swimming events.

In Certamen, Beatrez had the honor of representing Ohio on its Intermediate team, which made semifinals, and Gran and Fox had the honor of representing Ohio on its Novice team. Tomshack and Martis competed on separate teams in Open Certamen at the Advanced level, and Tollett competed at the Novice level, where his team earned second place.

“Spending a week at convention is about more than just the tests” says Tollett, “I got to meet amazing people from all around the country.” After a long and successful week, the Knights even took a field trip to the Hoover Dam.

Hoover Dam

The Knights now look forward to a new school year. First and upcoming is the annual Case Western Reserve Dionysia, for which they will write a modern adaptation of a Classical play. The Knights have held first place at the Dionysia for three consecutive years. The Knights also look forward to the 2014 Ohio Junior Classical League (OJCL) Convention in March.

“I can’t wait to see what the Knights of the Tiber will accomplish in the next year.” The St. Ed’s Intermediate Certamen team will have two returning members from the NJCL convention, and the Advanced Certamen team is currently projected number one state wide.

“Watch out for the Knights of the Tiber at the next state convention,” says Beatrez, “Word on the street is that they’ve been dubbed the ‘St. Edward Knights Dream Team.’”

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