For four Sherman High School students last week, it was time to test their knowledge of the classics as they headed to the National Junior Classical League convention in Lafayette, Louisiana, each leaving with prizes.
“I am blown away by the performance of the students throughout this process, from region to state to national championships,” said SHS JCL sponsor Ryan Williams. “As even the students noticed on the car ride last weekend, they succeeded at this level at something that they weren’t sure how it would work all along.”
In academic tests, Hanna Houser placed first in Classical Art, Shomoy Kamal placed fifth in Latin Derivatives, Guillermo Jaimes placed eighth in Latin Reading Comprehension, and Gabriella Taylor placed ninth in Life and Greek literature.
Then it’s off to the creative contests. Taylor participated in Impromptu Art in which she had 40 minutes to create an artwork entirely from a provided bag of items, and her work received second place. Jaimes performed a passage in Dramatic Interpretation – the same passage he performed at State – and earned third place.
It was the Sherman Chapter’s first trip to the nationals, and the five-day convention included not only contests, but also social events like karaoke where students from across the country could gather. It was a “unique and exhausting experience” for Williams and his students.
“I could never have dreamed that everything would turn out so exceptionally and that they would do so well,” Williams said, adding that at the end of the week the students were already planning their return to the next national convention.
With her first year of teaching under her belt, Williams aims to begin chapter activities earlier this year and recruit more students into the school’s JCL chapter. It aims to send more students to conventions and add a service project.
“As the students said on the way home, now that they know how it all works, they — and I — hope they can do even better this coming year,” Williams said. “I also hope Sherman can send more students to Atlanta for the 2023 National Convention.”