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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.”