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Below is a brief history of the Illinois Latin Tournament

The Illinois Latin Contest


Under the Auspices of The Illinois Classical Conference

Under the Supervision of the Illinois High School Association


The Illinois Latin Contest was first held in the spring of 1938 when it was organized by a committee of the Chicago Club under the chairmanship of Miss Irene J. Crabb, then a teacher at Evanston Township High School. The first state finals were held at the University of Illinois under the supervision of Professor W.A. Oldfather.

For twenty years Miss Crabb served as state chairman of this tournament type of contest Originally competing schools were divided into A and B groups based on school enrollment. Contestants were limited to two per year of Latin per school, but with the raise of consolidated schools this division of schools into A and B classes was abolished, and schools were allowed to enter three contestants per year.

Until 1960 three tests were given- district, sectional and state. However, due to pressure of pupil and teacher time, school finances, and available Saturdays there are only two tests now given- the district or preliminary and the state. Other changes have come with the years, but the original practice of holding state finals at a college or university has been continued.

The contest for many years has been sponsored by the Illinois Classical Conference and is approved and under the supervision of the Illinois High School Association. From 1958-1962, it was managed by two state co- chairmen, Miss Mary Jeannette Munce, Bloomington High School, Bloomington and Mrs. J. M. Dykes, 201 Thatcher Ave., River Forest, Illinois. In 1962 Mr. Kenneth Hagen, Alton Sr. High School, Alton, succeeded Miss Munce as the chairman. In 1963 Miss Kathleen Anglese, Barrington High School, Barrington, succeeded Mrs. Dykes as the treasurer. Mrs. Henrietta Davis, Pekin Community High School, Pekin, succeeded Mr. Hagen in 1969 state chairman. Leonard Peart then served a few years as state chairman who was then succeeded by Robert De Cesare. After a few years with Mr. De Cesare as chairman, Henrietta Davis and Judith Streid of Pekin became co- chairs. A state board, whose members, whose members are elected for three years, serves as an advisory body and governs the policies of the contest. It consists of a representative from each of these seven sectional areas, one from the parochial schools and one from the colleges.


It is not the aim of this contest to set up a course of study for any given year of Latin in the schools. Rather, it is to offer talented and interested Latin students an opportunity through independent and further study to delve more deeply into the subject, to go beyond the requirements set up for the class as a whole, and to gain some public recognition for their proficiency .

An important by- products of the contest, however, has proved to be the added interest in the subject and an increased tempo of learning on the part of the rest of the students in the course.

General Announcement

This revised bulletin containing only general information should be kept for reference. Details about current contests will be sent each year as soon as registration is completed.




Any student of any high school which is a member of the Illinois High School Association is eligible. The first year examination may be taken by anyone, ninth grade or above, studying first year Latin, regardless of his classification in high school. This also is true of the other three years of Latin.

It has been the custom established from the first contest that there should be no tutoring of contestants. This means that contestants may not receive special help outside class periods at regular specified times. However, if a certain point in the outline has not been reached or touched upon in class and if a contestant after independent study is still confused, he may ask the teacher to explain it. No student will be eligible who has had any special tutoring during the year in which he competes.

Tutoring Statement


All the meeting of the Executive Board if the Illinois State Latin Tournament on May 13,1961 it was brought to the attention of the board that request had come from several schools for some specific information on what constitutes "Coaching." Realizing that we are teaching all students enrolled in Latin and that the contest work is aimed at giving superior students opportunities with appropriate rewards to do supplementary work on their own initiative, the board asked Miss Munce to appoint a committee which was to draft a statement to all participating schools. The following ideas are issued to help clarify the answer to the question of what constitutes tutoring and so violates the pledge given by participating schools.

Any extra scheduled classes- before school, after school, or during the school day run by a teacher- held for contestants only, to work on specific items likely to appear on a contest, is clearly tutoring and does violate the pledge. Any examinations which would be given to these students only should also be avoided. Teachers should not do any teaching.

Contestants may be given copies of the material to be covered by each contest as listed in the bulletin, " The Illinois Latin Tournament" as well as copies of previous tests. The suggested resources may certainly be made available to the contestant- as they probably should be to all students enrolled be answered, whenever possible, by citing a source where in the student can find his own answer. However, if the student cannot find the answer or understand the problem after reading these sources, especially if it pertains to some point of grammar or syntax not yet covered in class, the teacher may help hem, but only to the point of understanding form which he will be able to go on independently. Teachers may have a run-off contest to choose students to take the district exam.

In fact, a good rule to be followed by teachers who wish to abide scrupulously by the pledge would seem to be the following: Is the help I offer in response t contestants’ questions given in such a way as to benefit all my students and have I used the contest work as a means of motivating superior students to do independent study?


Selection of Contestants

In each school five representatives from that school for each year of the contest are to be selected by competitive tests to be given by the local teacher before the deadline date. By the deadline date the names of all contestants must be in the hands of the state chairman. Since the purpose of this contest is to interest as many students as possible in Latin and to familiarize students with the standards of the national classical the preliminary tests. The length and conditions of the tests are left to the individual teacher.



The registration fee is two dollars per pupil except when there is only one entry from a school in the case of a single entry the fee is five dollars.

This fee, together with the names of the contestants, must be sent to the treasure before the deadline.

The registration fee is used for the expenses of the contest, such as mimeographing, bulletin, postage, and prizes.

Enrollment of Contestants

The treasurer should receive the fee card and the fee along with a portion of the registration card sent out by the state chairman. One part of the registration card is to sent to the state chairman. All cards are properly marked so that there should be no confusion where each should be sent. The following information is asked for on the card:

1. Names of contestants

2. Statement of eligibility

3. Tutoring Statement

4. Year in school and year of Latin for each contestant

Note Bene: The sending school’s teacher must accompany his/her student/s to both the district and state exams. If the teacher cannot attend, it is his/her responsibility to authorize adult chaperone to take his/her duties. This school representative will assist with the administration of exams as a room proctor or exam reader. Students are not to be present without a teacher.

District Meets


The twenty district meets generally are held in March in Chicago for the two Chicago districts, and for each of the downstate districts of the Illinois Education Association in a city selected by the state director.

The district chairman will notify all schools in the district of the time and place of the meet, and is authorized to admit to the examination students for whom he has received cards from the director.

From the state chairman of the Illinois Latin Tournament the district chairman will receive the sealed test questions. The tests may be opened by a school official other than the Latin teacher prior to the test to be counted. They may be opened in the presence of the contestants by the person in charge of the district meet. No books or papers other than those provider for the test will be permitted, and every effort will be made for fairness and honesty.

Two and one-half hours will be allowed for the actual writing of the test. The district meet papers will be graded by a 3 committee appointed by the state chairman. The state chairman will send the announcements of the winners of ratings to the participating schools. The decision of the Administrative Committee shall be final.

State Meet


The state final meet generally will be held the last Saturday in April at the invitation of one of the colleges or universities in the state.

System of Rating

In the district meet the upper twenty percent of the group will be called the superior group. The next twenty percent will ve the honor of being known as the excellent group. Regardless of the number entered, the minimum of each year is three in each group provided that no score is less than 60%of the total score.

In the first and second year only the superior group of the district will be considered for rating in the sectional area to which they are assigned. In the third and fourth years both the superior and excellent groups will be entered for rating according to sectional area.

For the sectional rating the upper twenty five percent will be called the superior group. The next twenty five percent will be rated as excellent. There will be a minimum of four in each group if the percentages eligible permits. In the first and second years the superior only of the sectional go on to the finals. In the third and fourth years both the excellent and superior group of the sectional go on to the state finals.

In addition to the above, any student who gets eighty percent of the test correct but does not qualify for the percentages will be able to enter the finals. The student will not receive an award for the district or sectional level. The student will have to fit in the final groups to receive an award.

In the finals, the upper twenty percent will be called the superior group, and the next twenty percent will be the excellent group.

The prizes for the superior group in the finals for all years will be gold ribbons. The excellent group in the finals will receive white ribbons.

Those ranked superior in the sectional who do not receive rating in the finals well receive purple ribbons; the excellent group, red ribbons.

The superior group in the district meets that do not receive sectional ratings will receive blue ribbons. The excellent group will be awarded certificates.

The students who papers have the highest score in the state finals will receive a special book award.

The Illinois Latin Tournament will award trophies to contestants who have written in the State Contest (on the State level) all four years. This was voted upon by the tournament board in the spring of 1986.

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