East Latin students sucessfully compete in Certamen


Courtesy of cheactivities on Instagram

East’s Latin teams celebrate their placing in the Certamen competition.

On Tuesday, March 14th, students from East’s Latin classes competed in Certamen, a quiz-bowl style competition that tests students about the mythology, history, culture, literature, daily life, and grammar of ancient Rome. Hundreds of students from dozens of high schools throughout New Jersey gathered at Princeton University for Certamen, competing in various levels of competition.

East Latin students took top places at the regional level. East students Sylvia Albuquerque (‘26) and Naresh Vasudevan (‘26) placed third in South Jersey on the Latin I level. East’s Latin I team of Charlotte Bomze (‘26), Aniket Chintapalli (‘26), Ronak Pathak (‘26), and Nicole Shoyele (‘26) placed first in South Jersey. The Latin II team placed first in South Jersey as well, consisting of Noor Ain (‘25), Kushagra Goel (‘25), Megan Treglia (‘25), and Sarah Herzfeld (‘24). The upper-level Latin team of Sean Kunz (‘23), James MacCarthy (‘24), Spencer Yosko, and Jamie McMammon (‘23) also placed first. By topping the regional standings, East’s three first place teams will advance to compete at the New Jersey Classical League’s State Convention on May 13th. There, the top teams from each region – North, Central, and South – will compete against each other for the state championship title.

The Latin teams have been practicing since the beginning of October, meeting after school once to twice a week. Additionally, the students also spent time outside of school self-studying and practicing on their own.

“It teaches you a lot about the ancient world and it’s really fun,” said Sarah Herzfeld (‘24), the captain of the Latin II team.

The Certamen competition operates similarly to the game, Jeopardy!. A moderator will ask trivia questions (called toss-up questions) while two teams, with four students each, compete to be the first to buzz in and correctly answer to win points. The team that answers the toss-up question first and correctly has the opportunity to earn additional points through bonus questions. For each toss-up question, a team gets two bonus questions. For the bonus questions, the team members then have thirty seconds to collaborate and respond with their answers.

The Certamen trivia questions cover topics ranging from history to mythology to daily life, grammar, and more. Students often choose a certain topic (eg. grammar) to “specialize” or focus on, helping the team study and compete more efficiently.

“In the classroom, we spend a lot more time with the language itself,” said Mr. John Munday, the East Latin teacher and the adviser for the Latin team. “And then Certamen goes away beyond that, with history and mythology, which is a lot of fun.”

Historically, both Cherry Hill East and Cherry Hill West teams have been highly successful competing in Certamen. In Munday’s experience coaching at both East and West, Cherry Hill teams have placed first in the South Jersey region 31 times, with eight state first place finishes, 13 second place finishes, and 10 third place finishes.