LatinCon 2016

Last weekend has got to be on of the most exciting and fun weekend I’ve ever had. I attended my first Latin State Convention at Rock Eagle. Ever since I started Latin this year, I’ve been looking forward to LatinCon and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. There latin onewere so many things to do that I kind of felt overwhelmed at first, but once I got my schedule down I tried to figure out how to get the most out of my three days there. My days consisted of exams, certamen, chariot races, roman processions, suspicious-looking cafeteria food, going to a dance, ending up stealing all the cookies at the dance and leaving to watch Japanese pro wrestling, playing Cards Against Humanity with Latin nerds, and chilling out by the lake at night. My time there was packed full of activities but looking back it seems like it went by so fast.

While I was there, I put my knowledge and weird facts of Latin to use in exams and certamen. Certamen, meaning contest or battle in Latin, is a quiz-bowl type game where teams of four compete for points by answering questions related to the Latin language, mythology, history, daily life, etc. The game combines knowledge with reaction time, as the certamenfirst person to buzz in with the correct answer earns the points and gives their team an opportunity to earn even more points in bonus questions. (kind of like Jeopardy!) I’m on the novice team at my school and focus more in the language category, which comes easiest to me. My team and I do certamen mostly for fun, so when we face off with hardcore teams like Northview or Walton, we don’t really have much of a chance. We did, however, get to the semi-finals and manage to score a few points, so I’m pretty happy.

Overall, I really loved this trip and it gave me a chance to explore what I love about Latin. I will definitely go back next year and maybe in my upperclassmen years attend National Convention. Unfortunately, I did not win any awards this year, but I’ll be prepared next year and bring home those ribbons!

CONVENTIO LATINA ET ALIA

Last weekend was the Georgia Junior Classical League Convention and I along with 23 other Latin students (including Nicholas) went to represent our school among 2000 other students. I went last year and this convention was just as fun. There were lots of activities, exams, and overall Latin fun. I won 4th place on the Ancient Geography exam and 3rd place in Modern Myth Creative Writing. I was hoping for the geography award yet the Modern Myth award was a total shock. I almost didn’t even enter the writing (Pollena’s Tears from a previous post) into the competition because I didn’t think it was any good. Apparently there weren’t many submissions. Anyways, it was fun and a great experience and I can’t wait for next year.

Next, I was giving another award! Yeah! This time… it was still for Latin but I don’t mind. :D The award was a Milton Honors Award for Latin 2 Honors. Last night, I went to a ceremony for these awards. It was pretty fun, we got some Mexican food afterwards…

That’s about it! I went to LatinCon and got a couple awards, then I came home and got an award.

Letter to the Author

In my literature class, I got to research and write a letter to any non-fiction author of my choice. I chose Noam Chomsky, a linguistics professor at MIT. I enjoyed writing this letter a lot and can’t wait to see if I get a response. 

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Dear Prof. Chomsky,

I’m a freshman at Milton High School and a fan of your work. In my literature class, I was assigned to study a non-fiction author of my choice and review four of their published works. Being a fan of yours prior to this assignment, I chose you as my author and found a number of articles by you that I found interesting. Out of the four articles, your article “Saving the Commons” in The Nation interested me the most. The timing of the article with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta was perfect, and your explanation of the Charter of the Forest was very concise and easy to understand. I would also like to compliment you specifically on your inclusion of current events into almost all of the articles that I have read. I’m a member of my school’s Model United Nations team, so this gives me a more personal connection to the topics that you discuss and also helps me understand them on a deeper level.

One of the things I find appealing about your work is your abundant use of details when providing background on the topic. A clear depiction of the issue being discussed allows the reader to really appreciate the message being portrayed. For example, in the article “On Israel-Palestine and BDS”, you educated the reader with a brief but in-depth history of the relationship between the United States and Israel before making your main argument that they should be condemned for the crimes committed against the stateless peoples residing in Israel. This way, a reader who knows nothing on the subject will be able to grasp the message you are trying to carry. You also use this same format in “Saving the Commons” when you explain the different charters within the Magna Carta (Great Charter, Charter of the Forest) and how they influenced modern legislation.

Another thing I admire while reading your work is your compassionate tone of voice. It lets the audience get involved and form their own opinion on the subject rather than just read yours. For example, when you are developing your argument in “On Israel-Palestine and BDS”, you get down to a personal level with the major actors in the BDS movement; this level of coverage provides a point on which the reader can base their own opinion. Again, in your article “The Responsibility of Intellectuals, Redux.” your compassionate tone really takes precedence as you explain your concept of intellectuals as the defenders of justice. In my honest opinion, the compassion in your argument makes your articles so much more interesting from a reader’s point of view.

I know you are a very busy man, so I would like to thank you for reading this letter. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work and catching up on some of the books you wrote that I have not gotten around to reading yet. If you don’t mind answering a question, in all of your years of writing and teaching, what was the moment when you realized you love what you do? Thank you again for taking the time to read this letter.

Sincerely,

Nicholas Kreitz

Pollena’s Tears

Most classical myths either contain a lesson for how to act or a creation story for some aspect of nature. When I created this modern myth for Latin class, I decided to choose something relevant to me and modern humanity. The great terror and plight that is pollen…

Pollena was a beautiful and compassionate tree nymph of the forests of Italy, who was loved to wander through the woods and care for her plants, especially the flowers. One spring, while she was sleeping in the grass, she was startled by a group a men coming from a nearby town, trying to take a shortcut through the small forest. These men carelessly stomped over the flowers which Pollena had planted and watered just days before. When Pollena, who was watching these men from behind some nearby bushes, saw her poor flowers being trampled over, she froze. Because the flowers were so important to her and she was too shy to approach the men who unknowingly destroyed them, Pollena started crying yellow nymph tears, which also happen to carry magical powers of life-giving. Her cries were so loud and piercing that the men who crushed her flowers heard and went to look for her. When they found and approached her the men tried to calm her but to no avail. They soon grew tired as their attempts failed, and left quickly from the forest, becoming increasingly annoyed.

For many weeks Pollena cried and cried, and eventually the Olympians and all the nearby humans noticed the annoying and deafening screams as well as a more pressing matter. The flowers and plants which Pollena greatly cared for had gone untended and began to wilter. The gods and goddesses quickly brought together a meeting to find a solution to this problem. After much discussion and debate, Ceres volunteered to fix the issue, because is the one most affected by the damaged done to the plants in the world. She travelled to the forest and approached the young nymph, who continued to cry and shed  millions of tears. Ceres then inquired about why she was crying but like the men before her, she got no response other than the waterfall of yellow tears. After a lot of frustration and desperation, Ceres decided to turn Pollena into a tree in order to end the cries in a respectful and peaceful manner. The people and gods alike rejoiced at the peace and quiet.

Pollena, now in tree form, ceased to scream and yell because she was unable, but she was still very sad about her flowers, and was still able to cry which also annoyed the goddess and the citizens of the nearby town. So Ceres made of deal with the tree nymph, she was not allowed to cry, except during the season of spring, in which this whole ordeal took place, when she could let out her emotions without interference. Now, every spring, as Pollena remembers that traumatic time in her life, she cries floods of yellow tears, healing her flowers and bringing new plant life into the world, due to her magical tears flying throughout the Earth spreading her care. However, humanity, not caring about the good her tears do for nature, become irritated, remembering her cries and the great annoyance she caused the world.