Students test their ability on the National Latin Exam


The Junior Classical League, which co-sponsors the National Latin Exam, has over 50,000 members across the United States, Australia, and Canada. (Graphic Credit: Anastasia Warner)

Forty-three Mercy students took the National Latin Exam on March 16, both to test their Latin proficiency and qualify for national awards.

The exam is offered in different forms to all levels of Latin students, from Introduction to Latin through Latin VI. It is sponsored by the American Classical League, an organization of Greek and Latin language teachers across the country. The National Junior Classical League, which also sponsors the exam, is a student organization, and serves as the honor society of Latin students at Mercy.

“[The test] is optional, but I always encourage [students] to take it because it’s a good way to participate in competition,” said Latin teacher Mrs. Lauren Marquard. “It’s also a good way to recognize the students that are really strong in the language. We’ve had a lot of success on the National Latin Exam in the past few years.”

The 40-minute test offers recognition for a perfect paper as well as Gold Medal/Summa Cum Laude, Silver Medal/Maxima Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Cum Laude awards.

“It’s also a great opportunity for [Latin students] to [earn awards] and put [them] on their college applications,” said Mrs. Marquard.

Additionally, juniors and seniors who participate may apply and qualify for scholarships, of which over $40,000 are offered by the organization.

Last year, four students, then-juniors, won Gold Medals, and about 20 people overall won national honors. The 2017 awards will be released in May.

AP Latin student senior Joanna Bird has taken the exam twice before this year and has earned both Summa and Maxima Cum Laude awards. She says her classwork has prepared her well to succeed on the test. Bird says learning Latin has helped her improve in English as well.

“There’s a lot of grammar in the language,” she said. “You really have to break down English and how it’s set up grammatically to understand Latin.”