BLS Academic Clubs Collect Accolades

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There’s no debating that these teams are unstoppable. (Photo by: Cinly Mo (III))

By Mira Yu (III) and Jenny Chen (IV)

Junior Classical League Certamen:

On February 27, Boston Latin School became the first school in history to sweep first place in all three levels at the national Princeton Certamen Tournament.

Certamen is an academic Jeopardy-style buzzer competition that tests participants’ classical knowledge. Competition topics include Latin Language, Greek and Roman Mythology, Roman Culture and History, with the addition of Latin Literature at the Advanced level.

The first-place Advanced team consisted of Luc Azar-Tanguay (I), Ethan Clark (I), Jinwoo Kim (I) and Danny Nguyen (I). For Intermediate, the champions were Creighton Banitt (IV), Biya Brook (IV), Joanna Lin (IV) and Alex Xu (IV). In Novice, Andrew Lai (V), Cole McKittrick (V), Ailin Sha (V), Mark Snekvik (V) and Hannah Stoll (V) took first place.

Ms. Elizabeth Moguel, who coaches the BLS Novice division along with Mr. Dustin Brownell and Mr. Michael Howard, who coach Intermediate and Advanced respectively, explains, “BLS students have a language advantage because of the Latin requirement.” Whereas other teams generally have one member who specialize[s] in [the] Latin Language, all BLS competitors can buzz in because “they’ll know what puella means.”

The recorded livestream of the competition’s final rounds can be found here.

 

High School Quiz Show:

This month, the Boston Latin School High School Quiz Show team will seek their third consecutive state championship in the upcoming WGBH High School Quiz Show competition.

Since the team’s founding during the 2018-2019 school year, BLS Quiz Show has won two consecutive state championships. The 2020-2021 team, consisting of Alice Wu (I), Lucas Aho (I), Ethan Clark (I) and Kyler Hoogendoorn-Ecker (III), with alternates Louisa Hemr (III) and Mira Yu (III), looks to further bolster their impressive trophy collection.

This year’s team was chosen from a highly competitive applicant field, with the final decisions made based on prior experience, content knowledge and cooperation skills. Mr. Andy Zou, one of the Quiz Show coaches, states, “The pressure is always going to be there […] [and] we are very competitive, [so] we definitely want to come into this [competition] with the ultimate goal of winning.”

Despite the challenges presented by this year’s remote circumstances, BLS Quiz Show team is on the hunt for yet another trophy.

 

Model UN:

 On the weekend of January 28, five Boston Latin School students earned awards at the Harvard Model United Nations (MUN) conference.

BLS MUN’s performance at the virtual conference was the best in the club’s history. Club president David Xie (I) explains, “Students went above and beyond this year. In past years, winning an award at Harvard [conference] was pretty rare. We would have maybe one or two award winners a year and that would be a good year, we’d be proud of that.”

This year, of the conference’s 12 BLS attendees, three students earned Verbal Commendations and two students received Honorable Mentions. Overall, the Harvard conference hosted roughly a thousand students from schools across the globe.

At the conference, student delegates took on the role of a specific country or governing body as they established mock policies, debated issues and developed comprehensive resolutions. Delegates took part in committees including the Security Council, the Environmental Program, the Legal Committee, the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Health Organization and the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee.

 

Debate Team:

Recently, seven students from the Boston Latin School Speech and Debate Team qualified for the National Catholic Forensic League (NCFL) Grand National Tournament.

BLS Debate’s success continues in spite of this year’s challenging circumstances. Instead of taking place in Minneapolis as originally intended, this year’s tournament will be held virtually during May. The seven students who qualified include Maya Nelson (III), Zachary Chen (IV) and Sam Chen (IV) in the category of Congressional Debate, and Nadine Han (I), Selina Tang (III), Mira Yu (III) and Michelle Zhang (III) in the category of Public Forum Debate.

Nelson states, “It is very exciting to get to go to NCFLs. [The BLS] Debate team has had a pretty tough year […] we […] had to pull a lot of new leadership, and it has meant [taking on] a lot more student responsibilities.”

While the competition format itself remains consistent, this year’s virtual tournament poses both benefits and detriments to the team. Potential upsides include a more lenient dress code and being able to wake up later to attend, while remote communication poses a significant downside.

Regardless of these changes, the Debate Team is prepared to represent BLS at one of the nation’s largest academic conventions.