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NCP Latin Crushes Certamen Tournament

NCP Latin Crushes Certamen Tournament

By Kate Clemenz

The Northside Latin program is often affectionately referred to as a cult by people both in the class, and out. However, no group embodies this spirit more than the certamen team. A team focused both on fun and success, they are a close-knit group.  The Northside Certamen team traveled to New Trier High School on Tuesday, October 30 to compete on all kinds of topics related to Ancient Rome and Latin grammar. ICL, or the Illinois Certamen League, is the league in which the Northside teams compete. There are three divisions of teams: novice, lower, and upper. In a Certamen tournament, a team will play three rounds. In Northside’s case, they compete against other schools from Northern Illinois. The Northside Latin program has always been very strong, and the certamen teams are its crown jewel.

Certamen tournaments do not differ much from one school to the next, so the Northside certamen team knew what to expect when they arrived at New Trier on Tuesday. After an evening of competitive fun, the NCP certamen teams were awaiting the results. They believed the novice and lower teams would come in first and the upper team would come in second. However, much to the excitement of the team, every level of certamen from Northside- novice, lower, and upper- came in first place. The tournament was especially exciting because the lowest level of certamen- novice, which is made up of mostly freshmen- did very well in their first ever competition. Ruba Memon, Adv. 006, said these results were unexpected, but “exciting and shocking” nonetheless.

Beyond the actual competition, Gina Jagminas, Adv. 003, said the most exciting part of tournaments is “getting to spend time with the teams from NCP.” Jagminas also said that her team “takes things seriously, but makes sure to have fun as well.” The team is close, and they enjoy spending time together as much as they enjoy competing. Memon backed Jagminas up, saying “I love spending time with my team” when asked what her favorite part about certamen is. Jagminas also said she enjoys meeting people from the other schools as well, and that it is always fun to see the same people at different tournaments throughout the year.

Northside has had a lot of success in past years, which current team members attribute to hard work and thorough preparedness. Jagminas said that the team is usually pretty successful, as they always make sure to prepare very well. She said they are “good at expecting the questions they will be asked,” which makes it easier for them to prepare for tournaments and be successful in competitions. According to Jagminas, they simply try to “accumulate as many points as possible” over each round of every tournament they participate in. This strategy has certainly been successful so far.

The Northside certamen teams are hopeful for this year as well. They are studying hard so that they have a chance to “get to finals at least,” according to Memon. She also hoped that the success in this first tournament was a good omen for their competition at Yale (which NCP certamen participated in over the first weekend in November). The team is very excited for the future, and to see what will happen in their next competitions. They are proud of their past successes and are anticipating many coming wins.

The certamen team at Northside works hard in order to ensure that they can be successful, but they make sure to have fun during practices and competitions as well. Jagminas said that her team “loves to laugh during rounds,” and this tournament at New Trier was especially fun because it was not a very serious one. According to Memon, the teams hang out together after school almost every day. When they are not preparing for tournaments, they are hanging out in the Latin room, laughing, and playing music.

The success of Northside’s certamen team at its first tournament of the year, and all of the success in the past, is certainly a good indicator for the future.



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