Latin for Life

Menlo’s Junior Classical League club certainly takes home the awards. Did you know they also make coloring books with the stories of Arachne and other myths for children at the Redwood Family House?

Read the JCL club members’ recap of the year:

As usual, Menlo Latin students finished up the school year with a bang. Beginning with the CJCL State Convention at University High in Irvine in the spring, they won awards in all areas of the convention. On the school level, they finished third in the state. Our scrapbook, created by Grace Costello ’16 and Ashley Pimlott ’16, won first place, and our awesome Latin basketball team placed second. Finally, our Advanced Certamen team made up of Hidehiro Anto ’14, Paul Wat ’14, Ray Tung ’14, and Ben Barantschik ’15 placed second in the state. In individual competitions, Akshay Srivatsan ’17, Nikky Price ’16, Ben Barantschik, Hidehiro Anto, Ray Tung, John Wilson ’14, Gregor Yock ’15, Riley Burgess ’14, and Grace Costello all brought home awards. Grace, in fact, placed first in the Arts overall, and she was elected First Vice President on the California JCL Board, 2014-2015. These students represented Menlo very well indeed.

Also in the late spring, a handful of students opted to take the NJCL National Roman Civilization Online Exam. Hidehiro Anto, Ray Tung, Ben Barantschik, Paul Wat, Jason Moon ’17, Carla Roever ’17, and Akshay Srivatson all earned medals.

Next, at our Viva Italia Banquet attended by 130 students and their families in late May, 47 Latin students earned awards in the National Latin Exam, and Kelly Buck ’16 received special recognition for her perfect paper. In addition, 42 were inducted into the National Latin Honor Society for their outstanding work in Latin coupled with their strong ethical behavior throughout the year.

Finally, for the last week in July, Hidehiro Anto and Magistra Vasquez attended the National Junior Classical League Convention at Emory University in Atlanta. As a member of the Advanced Certamen team from California, Hidehiro did his part to bring them into the semifinals on the national level. In addition, he placed in the top ten in Latin Vocabulary, Roman History, Academic Heptathlon, Classical Greek, and Greek Derivatives. His independent study of Classical Greek with Mr. Brodie certainly paid off on a national stage—especially since he was competing at the top level because of his Latin but he had had only one year of Greek! There are not many schools that offer Classical Greek, and that alone made Menlo stand out in Atlanta. Additionally, our Menlo scrapbook placed sixth in the nation, and Menlo won third place submitting two of our community service projects.

Community Service, by the way, is a large part of the Menlo JCL. We have worked closely with the Redwood Family House for many years, and we raise money for our activities with them through frequent waffle sales on the Quad. Every year we provide the Halloween costumes of their choice for all the children in the shelter. We carve pumpkins, decorate cookies, dunk for apples, hunt for candy, and paint faces with the children and their families. At the end of all this, we provide dinner and eat with all the families in the shelter. For these events pizza is NOT an option. We usually serve food from Buca in Palo Alto to make sure the families have ample choice. We are always amazed by the amount of salad these children consume. Fresh produce is expensive, so these families really appreciate the greens. For Christmas, we cut down Christmas trees in Half Moon Bay, provide stands and ornaments, and make different kinds of tree decorations with the families. Fathers, mothers, children, and Menlo Latin students all work together to create glitter balls, clear glass balls with paint swirls inside, candy cane mice, paper chains, and clothespin reindeer. Again, we provide dinner and eat with the families.

This year, at the shelter’s request, we also put on a Mardi Gras party for everyone. We had the beads, of course, and glow stick necklaces for everyone, and we passed out coloring books that the Latin students of northern California had made at Menlo during Ludi Novembres 2013. These depicted the stories of Arachne, Cupid and Psyche, and Daphne and Apollo. We also made masks with feathers and sparkles and glass baubles for ourselves and our friends and families, and, as usual, we shared the chicken dinner we had ordered.

Our final service event took place a week after graduation. We took all the families in the shelter to the San Francisco Zoo. Every head of family received $20 for each member of the family for lunch, and everyone was given tickets for rides on the carousel and the train. Families, accompanied by Menlo JCL students, went their separate ways to visit the animals, have lunch and go on the two rides. At the end of the day, we met at the zoo’s brand-new playground to regroup before going back to the bus. Thanks to Grace Costello and her mom, every young child also received a stuffed giraffe (the first animal we saw when we arrived at the zoo that morning) and the teens were given SF Zoo water bottles. One the way home in the bus, a young single mother of one baby with another on the way said it all: “This is the best day I have had in the last year! Thank you, Menlo School.” It was a great day for all of us, and we are already planning our parties for this current school year.

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