Hillsdale College classical studies students took five out of 18 national prizes at the Eta Sigma Phi National Convention Friday through Sunday, Professor of Classics Joseph Garnjobst said.
Juniors Anne Begin and Noah Diekemper and senior Sydney Sparks of Hillsdale’s Eta Sigma Phi Classics Honorary chapter attended the convention at Monmouth College in Illinois.
Hillsdale swept the Koine Greek category, with Diekemper, Begin, and Ferguson taking first, second, and third, respectively. It was a first time any school has swept a category, to Garnjobst’s knowledge.
“Other schools that won prizes are 10 to 20 times our size,” he said.
Diekemper also took first place in Advanced Greek and second in Advanced Latin.
The convention included contest winner announcements, paper and research presentations, and scholarship awards. Diekemper and other Hillsdale students placed high in national translation exams in Greek and Latin.
Both Begin and Diekemper also presented papers, two of only four students, chosen by an anonymous panel, to present their papers at the convention.
Garnjobst, who also attended the trip and is a trustee for the honorary, said it is not uncommon for Hillsdale students to be picked to present their papers. He said submitting a paper, whether it is chosen for presentation or not, is a requirement for the Hillsdale students to attend and for the honorary to pay for their trip.
“We enter more papers than anyone else,” he said. “Overall, we are small, but within the realm of classics, we are large.”
Since 2008, with one exception, Hillsdale always has had at least one student present a paper.
Begin, a Latin and Greek major, presented a paper on book four of Thucydides’ “Histories” and his use of narratology. The Society of Classical Studies, another classics organization, also selected her paper for presentation at their event in Toronto in January.
Begin also received the Theodore Bedrick Scholarship, a travel scholarship that will allow her to go on a Vergilian Society tour of Southern Italy with professors in July.
“I’ve never travelled overseas before, so it will be a first time for me,” she said.
Diekemper, a math and Latin major, wrote and presented his paper on “Book I” of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses.”
Besides other budget and business planning, the convention also included lectures and games.
Begin said one game called Certamen, which means contest in Latin, is a type of jeopardy with Latin and Greek-related questions. She said they also enjoyed a Roman banquet.
“They had as much authentic Roman cuisine as possible,” she said. “But they did not give everyone forks because Romans didn’t have forks.”
Other amusements included an ancient warfare interactive demonstration and a model of weaponry.
“I think Sydney Sparks has a video of Dr. Garnjobst somersaulting under a row of pikes,” he said. “It was impressive.”