Crossroads News

Crossroads Hosts Latin Convention for Southern California Schools

The School welcomed over 500 individuals to campus for the first in-person Latin convention in over three years.
On Saturday, October 29, Crossroads Latin students and teachers hosted SCRAM (Southern California Regional Amici Madness), the first in-person Latin convention in three years. Eighth grader Fiona Yi, ninth grader Natalie Storm and senior Nate Kindler (all California Junior Classical League Southern Representatives) worked together with 123 community members—including Middle and Upper School parents, teachers and student volunteers—to welcome over 500 student delegates, sponsors and chaperones from 25 Southern California schools to the 21st Street Campus. 

The delegates competed in traditional Latin Convention events including academic tests; Latin oratory and dramatic interpretation; and Certamen (a quiz-bowl competition with questions covering Latin grammar, mythology and Roman history). This year’s SCRAM featured the return of Water Balloon Battleship and the introduction of Omni-oke (a karaoke singalong), Saltate! (Just Dance! for the whole room to dance simultaneously), and Daedalus’ Escape (a glider competition requiring teams of contestants to fly a foam glider through the two floors of the Boxenbaum arts building). 

Community service projects are a regular part of SCRAM Day and Latin Convention. Crossroads students jumped at the opportunity to gather materials for the delegation to assemble hygiene kits to donate to The People Concern, a local organization that advocates for homeless individuals and survivors of domestic violence.

Many alumni who attended SCRAM Day or Latin Convention as students led events throughout the day. Howard Han ’98 and Nevin Densham ’98 handled the popular Fuge Pilam (dodgeball) competition. Brandon Smith ’98 and music teacher Ian Sloane ’06 managed Battle of the Bands. They also oversaw That’s Entertainment, a talent show that Ian and his band, The Via Experiment, won in 2002. Robert Munn ’15 worked with the seventh grade leaders of Water Balloon Battleship, while Shannon Munn ’18 helped with art projects and Daedalus’ Escape. Casse Alimento-Miller ’18 collected and organized the academic tests. Nikki (Magaña) French ’10 photographed events throughout the day. Recent graduate Kayal Bhatia ’22 worked as a scorekeeper for Certamen, which he also played as a student. Jamie Meyer, a former Crossroads Latin and Greek teacher, briefly came out of retirement to read questions for Certamen.

Crossroads senior Daniel James gave a talk about how he created his app, Verbdum, a Latin version of the popular game Wordle. California State University, Long Beach professor Kathy Chew’s workshop introduced students to paleography. Costume designer and Upper School parent Malgorzata Wieteszka-Slocomb showed her audience how to create costumes from rubber exercise mats, and retired Harbor Day Latin teacher Katie Robinson gave a STEAM workshop on miniature catapults, which included a competition. 

Latin teachers from over two dozen schools were excited to see one another again and show their students how fun a Latin convention could be. Ashleigh Fata from The Geffen Academy at UCLA shared, “As the founding Latin educator of a relatively new program, it meant a lot to be able to provide a space for camaraderie and classical engagement for my students. Especially after the long pause on such multischool gatherings, this was a very welcome and much needed space for all of our students to come together and learn. My students expressed appreciation for the opportunity and had an immense amount of fun, too.”

The Middle School’s XJCL Leadership Options class, which handled several details for SCRAM Day, will start preparing for the State Latin Convention, which will take place March 31-April 1 at Miramonte High School in Orinda.