Have an interest in ancient Greece and Rome? Those studies are Indiana Junior Classical League's specialties.

According to the IJCL website, the purpose of this league is to encourage an interest in and an appreciation of the language, literature and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to give students some understanding of the debt of their own culture to that of classical antiquity.

Homestead students competed in the Indiana Junior Classical League state competition at Saint Luke Catholic School, Indianapolis. These students won 25 individual awards.

Latin teacher Megan Beckman is the sponsor of the Latin Club at the school. She explained the annual competition in more detail.

“Students have the chance to compete in a variety of different competitions," Beckman said. "There are academic tests where they can take 10 different tests on different topics, whether it’s Roman culture or Latin grammar. They can also compete in graphic arts contests as well.”

The art contests consist of painting, mosaics, greeting cards and more. Beckman said there are 20 different art categories. These projects are generally related to the ancient world, according to Beckman.

There is also a creative arts category where students can memorize a Latin speech and present it or do an English oratory on the topic and present that as well.

“There are tons of different contests they can enter,” Beckman said.

Homestead had six students compete against the approximately 150 total students entered from across the state. This year’s competition was a mix of virtual and in-person events, so Beckman said the turnout was smaller than usual.

She said her team did a great job at the competition.

“Taking such a small group to the competition, I am very proud of what they were able to accomplish and do given that with everything else they have going on this year, they decided that they still wanted to go and participate,” Beckman said.

Some of the students just participated virtually, while others went in person.

“I’m glad that they were able to do and enter as many things and contests as they were able to,” Beckman said. “The individual awards are usually top-five placings for their contests. We actually had two students who were elected to state office. So they will be serving as state officers for the organization next year.”

Those students are Carly Chen, president, and Lauren Cabe, second vice president.

Homestead junior Claire Elliot participated virtually, and Beckman was proud of her accomplishments.

“She did really well in her contests that she did,” Beckman said. “She did a couple of art projects that were absolutely amazing. She did a painting that she had done for a class project last year. She did a painting of Medusa. The other one that stands out is that she had an amazing mosaic that she did.”

Beckman said she likes being able to see the artistic side of her students that she wouldn’t usually see in class.

Elliot said she competed in the testing categories and two art events, painting and mosaic. She earned first place in both of her art events and got third place in Roman history.

She enjoys this program because she gets to spend time with her Latin Club friends.

“Everyone in Latin Club, we’ve all been in Latin Club together for years,” Elliot said. “It’s a really close-knit community. The teachers, Mrs. Beckman and Mrs. (Ellen) Waite, are very supportive. Going to the club, it’s almost like hanging out with your friends while also learning about Latin culture than kind of the monotony.”

She was disappointed that she could not participate in person, but she was glad she had the option to do it virtually.

“Obviously, it wasn’t as cool as having the full experience of going in person, but I think it was a great way to accommodate people who couldn’t go to enjoy at least some of the process,” Elliot said.

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