from Anne Dicks
It was a great success again, with a total of 117 Sixth Form students taking part in the UK: 79 taking the cultural test on ‘Aeneas from Troy to Latium’ and 90 attempting edited passages from Quintus Cicero’s ‘Short Guide to Electioneering’. They all really enjoyed the challenge of the tests and were able to video-chat with students around the world as well.
Prizewinners were announced at the JACT Conference and AGM on 19th May and you can see the full list on the UK page of the website http://www.ciceroconcordia.com along with credits to all those who supported the competition either financially or by donating signed books. The winning student came from France this year.
If you click on the ‘2012’ link you can see some of these students and hear the video-messages they have sent to each other. Unfortunately there was a problem with the recording from Australia which we have so far not been able to resolve, but I particularly recommend the videoclip from the Serbian students and (of course) my own students’ version of the story of Aeneas, even though I don’t think it can rival the one they made about Jason last year!
As I am retiring from teaching at the end of this school year, the CICERO UK competition will be taken over by a new team: details will appear on the website as they are finalised but more volunteers are always welcome …. I will continue as international Webmaster.
Here are two accounts of the day: the first one written by the winner of the U6 Latin section and the second by one of my students.
Having arrived at Malvern St James School relatively early one Saturday morning, the warm greeting we received more than made up for the loss of a potential lie-in. As always, MSJ were more than happy to see us and made us very welcome; the other students participating were equally friendly and we all got off to a flying start. This, to me, struck the first difference between CICERO and other competitions of its nature. Though everyone seeks to do well, no-one provokes competition or rivalry. The inherent message of harmony is taken to heart.
As part of the opening ceremony, Duncan and I had the privilege of reading a piece of the Aeneid to the group, followed by a video from Boris Johnson, outlining and praising the competition, and a recorded video-conferencing message from Anne Dicks, the founder of CICERO, speaking to us from a school in Serbia. After a lovely lunch, we also had the chance to talk to some of the many other schools across the world taking part in the competition over video conferencing, including Serbia, Italy and Spain, and received messages from those who had already done the competition due to time zones, such as Australia. It was truly amazing to be able to communicate on such a global level so effortlessly and openly, and especially refreshing to find that, on the whole, there were people like us – Classicists – all over the world, who shared our interest.
The first test was the Latin translation, a piece by Quintus Cicero, brother of Marcus Tullius Cicero, on how to win an election in Ancient Rome. Though the passage was in places tough, containing some idioms difficult to translate, it was very enjoyable and (unusually for a test) provided a window into Ancient Rome that I hadn’t looked through before.
Classicists can often feel that the world of Classics nowadays is tightly knit, and it is a shame that this is so, since it really can be a tool for bringing people together. Through CICERO we were able to meet many people and start many friendships, as well as communicate on an international level. A good day and an extremely worthwhile competition.
For 6 years the Cicero competition has inspired budding young classicists all around the world and it truly is a valuable experience for everyone involved. It has benefited me on so many different levels; the papers were challenging and intellectually stimulating, whilst I enjoyed the chance to meet and forge friendships with other like-minded teenagers at our centre as well as those from other schools in Britain, Spain, Italy and Australia. It really is a fantastic opportunity for students to come together and share a common interest outside the classroom, in a competitive yet friendly setting. I would highly recommend it to all and very much hope that someone will take on the responsibility of organising the British centres so that future students will be able to benefit in the same way that I have.