Victoria for Riverhead’s Latinists

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead Latin Team participated in the eighth annual Suffolk Classical Society Declamatio hosted by SUNY Stony Brook. Pictured here are (from left) Pola Dobrzynski, Emily Leona Cardillo, John Rios, James Rios, Emily Pearce and Gwen Hilles,

Riverhead School District’s Latin Team took home a slew of prizes — including best in county — at the eighth annual Suffolk County Classical Society Declamatio at Stony Brook University Tuesday. And one student from Bishop McGann-Mercy High School took home a first place award as well.

During the competition students memorized then recited — or declaimed — passages from ancient and contemporary Latin literature before a panel of judges.

Riverhead competed against five other schools and took seven of the 12 places in three categories.

In the Middle School Level I division,  Riverhead dominated the competition as  James “Octavius Aurelius” Rios took first place for the second year in a row, Gwen “Aqua Columba” Hilles received second and third went to Emily “Hibernia Rosa” Pearce.

In the High School Pre-Regents Level II division, sophomore Daniel “Simonn Akbar Yakbar” Raynor tied with Mercy freshman Danielle Allen of Aquebogue for first place and Riverhead freshman Pola Dobrzynski took second.

In the High School Advanced Level III division, senior Emily Leona Cardillo received third place. Junior John “Odysseus Tyrannos” Rios, James Rios’s older brother, received first place in that competition also earning him the best in county award. John has placed every year in the competition since seventh grade.

Riverhead Middle School Latin teacher and coach Lorene Custer was thrilled with her students’ performance at this year’s competition. “Attention to detail and fastidious persistence recently paid off as Riverhead Latinists excelled at this year’s eighth annual Declamatio,” she said. “The Riverhead Latin program continues its reign as the Smartest of the Smart in Suffolk County!”

Riverhead Middle School is one of the few intermediate schools in the nation to offer Latin courses to its students. The team, which has taken home numerous awards at previous competitions, has established itself as a force every year since the Declamatio began.

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