GPS sophomore Julia Caroline "J.C." Wiedmer found out that she had been selected as the winner of the top prize in the 5th Annual Paideia Institute High School Essay Contest, a full scholarship to the Paideia Institute’s 14-day Living Greek in Greece High School Program.
The contest prompted students from across the country to imagine themselves as a figure from the Classical past and to provide a first-person account of how things went from their perspective, not just the official version as contained in the sources or literature.
In Latin III this semester, GPS students have been reading adapted Latin texts to help them master their grammar and vocabulary. Sample texts included accounts of battles during the Crusaders and Columbus’ voyages in the Era of Discoveries along with the usual tales of Romans and mythological stories such as those of Perseus and Hercules. J.C. wrote her essay, “Hercules Doesn’t Give Second Chances,” as a part of an enrichment opportunity for class and submitted it to the contest at the start of March. She will be working with the editor of the institute’s journal, In Medias Res, before it is published online later this year.
“Over the past two years in Latin, J.C. has been one of my most reliable students, always very keen to learn more about the Romans," said Dr Ralph Covino, J.C.’s advisor as well as Upper School Latin teacher. "For the activity, I naturally thought she would pick a Roman topic. It shocked me when she chose to write about Hercules and make reference in her essay to Pseudo-Apollodorus’ ??ß???????. I actually e-mailed J.C. to warn her, jokingly, that because of the choices she had made with her topic and the sources she consulted, she’d have to learn some ancient Greek as well as Latin if she won! Little did I know it could come true! It will be such a great opportunity for her.”
J.C. and her parents have been in contact with the Paideia Institute about what to do if the summer school does not run this summer because of on-going travel restrictions. The Institute will decide by May 1 whether or not the program will run; if it does not, she will be able to use her scholarship to attend next summer’s course.