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5 Classics Competition for High School Students

5 Classics Competitions for High School Students

For high school students with a passion for the classics, participating in classics competitions is an excellent option for showcasing their passion for the subject and enhancing their understanding of ancient literature and culture. This article will explore competitions that offer unique opportunities for young classicists to engage with Classics meaningfully.
1. What is Classics?

The term “classics” or Classical Studies refers to the study of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, including their languages (Latin and ancient Greek), literature, history, philosophy, and culture. This field of study involves reading and interpreting these ancient texts and understanding their historical context and influence on modern society.

Studying the classics provides students with insights into the foundations of Western civilization, including the origins of democratic principles, legal systems, literary genres, and philosophical ideas that continue to shape our world today. Now, let’s explore the Classics Competition you can participate in during high school!

Published biannually in March and September, Omnibus Magazine is dedicated to promoting Classics to students and teachers worldwide. In the Omnibus Magazine Gladstone Memorial Essay Prize, students are invited to write an essay under 2000 words in response to one of the competition topics in this competition.

  • Were the ancient Olympic Games more significant to the ancient Greek world than the modern Olympic Games are to our world today?
  • Why does the Trojan War provide such fertile ground for modern retellings? You may discuss more than one modern retelling of a Trojan War story.
  • How important was Athenian drama for their democratic values in ancient Athens?
  • How shocking do you think the poems of either Catullus or Ovid would have been to their ancient audiences?
  • ‘Women had more influence in Roman society in the Republic than under the Principate.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement?
  • Which one piece of artwork (ancient or modern art or sculpture) do you think best captures the telling of a classical myth which you have read? Justify your answer concerning at least two other pieces of artwork depicting the same myth.
  • ‘The public should be kept at a distance from our most treasured ancient sites.’ How do we both protect and celebrate our ancient cultural heritage?
  • Was Constantine great?

Eligibility: The competition is open to anyone under 19 who is still in full-time education and has not completed A levels or IB.

More information on the competition can be found here.

Hosted by the Omnibus Magazine, in this competition, students are invited to provide elegant, stylistic, and creative translations of Greek and Latin prose and verse. The below texts can be found here:

Lucian, Zeus Rants 18

Euripides, Trojan Woman 903-28

Greek Anthology 9.562 (Parrot Poem) & 9.564 (Bee Poem)

Petronius, Satyrica (Cena Trimalchionis) 59.3-7

Ovid, Amores 1.4.1-24

Sallust, Bellum Catilinae 5.1-8

More information on the competition can be found here.

Center for Fiction National Teen Storyteller Contest is a literary nonprofit organization that provides a platform for high school students to celebrate the creation and enjoyment of fiction. For this year’s competition, the theme is Classic Myths, Reimagined. Young writers are invited to submit original short fiction of 300-1000 words that showcase their creative talents and storytelling abilities.

Deadline: May 10 to Jul 10, 2024

More information on the contest can be found here

The National Latin Exam is a prestigious and short standardized test to assess students’ understanding of the Latin language. Students have 40 multiple-choice questions to answer within 45 minutes. Students with any level of expertise can participate in any of the seven levels: Introduction to Latin Exam, Beginning Latin Exam (or Latin I), Intermediate Latin Exam (Latin II), Intermediate Latin Reading Comprehension Exam (Latin III), Advanced Latin Prose Exam (Latin III/IV Prose), Advanced Latin Poetry (Latin III/IV Poetry), and Advanced Latin Reading Comprehension Exam (Latin V/VI+).

There are seven exam levels, which can confuse students who are unsure which exam is appropriate. Fortunately, the National Latin Exam has released a guide to help students navigate the exam levels better.

Postmark deadline for registrations for paper exams: Friday, January 26, 2024

Postmark deadline for registrations for online exams: Friday, February 16, 2024

More information on the contest can be found here

The National Junior Classical League is a youth organization of secondary school students sponsored by the American Classical League. The NJCL sponsors four online exams: The National Classical Etymology Exam (NCEE), the National Roman Civilization Exam (NRCE), the National Latin Vocabulary Exam (NLVE), and the National Hellenic Civilization Exam (NHCE):

  • National Classical Etymology is created to assess students’ ability to handle both Latin and Greek derivatives and their usage in the English language. The test is administered from Mon. Nov. 1-Fri. Dec. 10
  • National Roman Civilization tests a student’s knowledge of ancient Roman society. The test is administered from Mon. Nov. 1-Fri. Dec. 10
  • The National Latin Vocabulary Exam is designed to test a student’s knowledge of Latin vocabulary. It is based solely on specific lists of Latin vocabulary relevant to a particular student’s level of Latin. The test is administered from Mon. Jan. 31- Fri. March 4
  • The National Hellenic Civilization Exam is a new exam in 2022 designed to test a student’s knowledge of ancient Greek society. The test is administered from February 1 – March 5.

More information on the contest can be found here

The Exploratory Latin Exam is a contest tailored to students in grades 3 to 6 who have just started their Latin learning journey, and are not taking the National Latin Exam.

For Grades 3-4, students will answer 30 vocabulary questions and, optionally, 20 remaining questions.

For Grades 5-6, students will answer 30 vocabulary questions and 10 questions on the yearly theme. Students may choose to answer 10 additional questions entirely in Latin. If students can answer all 50 questions correctly, they will be qualified for a perfect score medallion.

Competition Website: https://www.etclassics.org/Contests/Exploratory-Latin-Exam

For the Scribo competition, students submit original literary pieces in the following four categories: short stories, poems, comics, and fill-in-the-blank stories for younger students under the theme Roman Entertainment. You have to follow certain templates if you are submitting to poetry/prose, comics, and fill-in-the-blank stories.

Competition Website: https://www.etclassics.org/Contests/Scribo-Writing-Contest

The National Mythology Exams consist of the Pegasus Mythology Exam for students in grades 3 to 8, and the Medusa Mythology Exam for students in grades 9 to 12. The National Mythology Exams are given annually to over 9,000 students in approximately 400 schools nationally and internationally. The competition is unique because instead of testing on the Latin vocabulary, students are tested on their understanding of classical mythology. The deadline for registration is January 31, 2024

Complete Guide to the National Mythology Exam (NME)

Participating in these competitions offers high school students the chance to win prizes, deepen their engagement with classical literature and culture, hone their writing and translation skills, and gain recognition. 

Aralia Courses

Aralia Education offers comprehensive preparation programs for students looking to excel in these classical competitions. We provide specialized courses to help students succeed in the Omnibus Magazine Gladstone Memorial Essay Prize, the Omnibus Magazine Sam Hood Translation Prize, and other related contests. Our programs include:

  • Competition Preparation: Tailored courses focus on honing the skills required for each competition. These courses include guidance on essay writing, translation techniques, and creative storytelling, helping students develop high-quality submissions.
  • Foundational Latin Classes: Understanding Latin is crucial for many classical studies competitions. Aralia Education offers foundational Latin classes that equip students with the linguistic skills to tackle ancient texts confidently and accurately.


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