“We founded practice ourselves and because of that we are all there completely voluntarily,” said Certamen team member Claire Meany ’16. “It makes it a lot more fun since none of us are annoyed we have to go.”
They meet every Saturday at the La Grange library and go through a folder of Latin-themed questions, the topics being history, culture, mythology and grammar.
“One person will read [a] question and the rest of us will fight each other to answer,” said Certamen team member Kayla Verdon ’16.
The students go through a folder of questions given to them by their Latin teacher as well as using online study tools during their practice sessions.
“They’re showing leadership and enthusiasm that’s kind of infectious,” said Latin teacher Laurie Jolicouer.
Jolicouer said she is proud of the current sophomore team for inviting the freshman to practice with them. For her, the best thing about Certamen is the comradery among the players.
“They support each other. They are brave, like when they answer a question when they’re not sure of the answer,” she said.
During the tournaments, the team can get very into the game.
“To answer a question you have to hit the buzzer,” LT Certamen team member Haley Sliwa ‘16 said. “We smash the buzzer into our foreheads and occasionally into our eyes.”
The practices can be crazy as well.
“We discovered that the room isn’t soundproof, so we try to keep the sound down, but we sometimes get pretty loud,” Verdon said. “And by sometimes I mean all the time.”
The dynamic of the practices is laid back, but the team still gets a lot done. Sometimes they will stay at the library from nine in the morning until five in the afternoon, Meany said.
“My favorite part [of being on the team] is how close all of us Certamen kids get because we have to meet up a lot in order to get good at stuff,” Verdon said.