Jefferson Latin students take etymology exam


The NCEE gold medal, designed by Class of 2013 Jefferson graduate Hillary Liu.

Tommy Lunn, Opinion Editor

Every December, Jefferson Latin students fill computer labs during two eighth period blocks to take the National Classical Etymology Exam (NCEE).  The students vie for the top awards by testing their knowledge of word roots.

“I took the exam because etymology is a way that the classics become really relevant to modern studies. Everybody loves learning more vocab words,” sophomore Stella Yang said.

The NCEE is a yearly examination sponsored by the National Junior Classical League, with this year’s occurring on Dec. 4.  The 50 question test has been given for the past four years, and is comprised of about 37 Latin and 13 Greek derivative questions. Students are allotted 45 minutes to complete the test.

Many Jefferson students study and prepare for the examination, using tools such as vocabulary lists and study guides in hopes of scoring high on the exam.

“Studying for this exam can help improve Latin vocab knowledge too, and vocabulary,” Yang said.  “In my opinion, is probably one of the hardest parts of the Latin language program at Jefferson.”

Students are divided into those who have and have not taken Latin or Greek, and then into Novice, up to grade eight, Intermediate, grades nine and ten, and Advanced, grades 11 and 12, divisions.  Thresholds for prizes are set for each level of competition.

“I improved by two points this year, and its always a joy to spend time with the TJ Latin family,” senior Eric Xie said.