Sunday, February 06, 2011

Golden Sponge-Stick Winners '10

I just got this exciting report from Jeremy Pine at Burgess Hill School for Girls and am posting it verbatim. I have put a selection of excerpts from the winning entries at the bottom of this post. Well done to one and all! Caroline x

Burgess Hill School for Girls Golden Sponge stick Competition 2010 report.

February 2011:

The 2010 Burgess Hill School for Girls Golden Sponge stick competition has  travelled truly internationally attracting a record 324 entries, including some from USA and Australia. The youngest entrant of four years old has also entered the fray this year!

A very pleasing fifty colleges and schools from a great diversity of backgrounds and geographical locations participated with some very entertaining and varied writing. Many thanks to those schools who continue to support this project so enthusiastically and also of course to all new entrants!

This time, stories were originally crafted with a wide range of themes. As well as the typically popular tales of gladiators, slaves and love affairs there were some intriguing new twists and turns. Fishbourne Roman Palace inspired a wonderful set of stories from Oxford High School, while peacocks and bears dominated the animal front this year, figuring ingenuously in the murder mysteries. The Roman Fates, the Underworld, Roman Imperialism and Peace all brought a fascinating dimension to the competition with evidence of impressive, meticulous research.

It is hoped that some of the fruits of these labours can be published for everyone‘s delectation, subject to receiving sufficient financial support. Watch this space!

Here are the winners and placings:

Under age 9 category:
1. Matilda Sidel, North London Collegiate School
2. Emmanuelle Gelain-Sohn,  North London Collegiate School
3. Madeleine Webster, St. Bede Church of England Primary, Winchester

Age 9-11:
1.  Sarah Camilleri, Ipswich Senior School
2.  Theodora Manson, Berkhamsted School
3.  Charley Broomfield, George Abbot School

Age 11 - 13:
1.  Mia Forbes, Nonsuch High School for Girls
2.  Anastasia Maseychik, Sancton Wood School, Cambridge
3.  Bryony Salter,  The Red Maids’ School, Bristol

Age 14 and above:
1. Charlotte Robson , Sherborne Girls’ School
2. Lucie Meggitt,  Sancton Wood School, Cambridge
3. Lataetia Mcevilly- Duncan, Oxford High School

Best International Entry :
Angela Choi, Pymble College, Australia

List of participating schools and colleges:
Beaconsfield High School, Berkhamsted School, Brentwood School, Burntwood School, Cambridge International School, Chelmsford County High School for Girls, Easton High School, Easton, USA, Ellesmere College, Emanuel School, Battersea, Fakenham College, George Abbot School, Hall Grove School, Hammond School, Henrietta Barnett School, Ipswich School, King Edward’s School, Witley, King Henry VIII, Coventry, Magdalen College School, Oxford, Monkton Combe Senior School, Moreton Hall Preparatory School, Mount Saint Mary Academy, West Watching, USA, Newcastle Royal Grammar School, Nonsuch High School for Girls, Northampton High School, North London Collegiate School, Norwich High School, Oxford High School, Pymble College, Australia, Queen’s Gate School, Roedean School, Rokeby School, Kingston, Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe, Sancton Wood School, Cambridge, Sherborne School for Girls, St Albans School for Girls, St Bede Church of England Primary, Winchester, St Edmund’s School, Canterbury, St James Senior Girls’ School, St Mary’s Senior School, Cambridge, St Paul’s Girls’ School, St Philip Howard RC School, Barnham, The King’s School, Gloucester, The Lady Eleanor Holles School, The Mall School, The Red Maids’ School Bristol, Wellington Senior School, Woodford County High School.

Special thanks:
To my family, Association for Latin Teaching, Barbara Johns, Burgess Hill School for Girls, Caroline Lawrence, Cambridge Latin Course project , Classical Association (for sponsoring the prizes), Friends of Classics, Joint Association of Classical Teachers, Lorna Robinson and the iris project, Mary Beard, Oxford University Classics Outreach, The Classics Library.          

Here is to the 2011 competition!

Jerry Pine
Classics Department
Burgess Hill School for Girls

Caroline chose these excerpts from the first place winners in all four categories:

Golden Sponge Stick 2010
first place under 9s
Matilda from North London Collegiate won first prize in the under 9 category
with this atmospheric conspiracy story involving twins and a plot against Titus

An excerpt from "The Numerus Twins"

Alca hurried back to Cassia, looking very distressed.

"The senators are going to do something dreadful," she cried.

"What is it?" chorused the twins anxiously.

"I - I don't know," she spluttered. "But whatever it is, it is to do with Emperor Titus," she gasped before collapsing into a seat. They were back in Laurentum, in the Villa Delphina.

"Were the Numerous Twins there?" asked Cassius, pestering the exhausted girl with questions.

"Cassius, she's too tired. Leave her to rest and then she'll tell you all about it," advised Myrtilla, the cook, a pleasant, plump woman who always knew best.

Alca sighed in relief and gave Myrtilla a grateful nod, which the cook responded to with a silent gesture as if to say, "Don't mention it."

Alca woke up with the midday sun blazing forcefully into her eyes. She yawned drowsily and started to get up. Now she would tell Cassia and Cassius everything.

As Alca entered the room, Cassius explained to her, "We know what happened, Alca. You were talking about it in your sleep. Cassia and I both agree with you that something must be done." Alca shrank back, ashamed to have been talking in her sleep. Seeing this, Cassia placed a comforting arm around her shoulders.

"We need to inform the Emperor Titus. He knows us and trusts us," she suggested.

"We should have more information before we tell anyone," Cassius protested.

"No. Let's warn the Emperor first, to prepare him. Otherwise it might be too late," concluded Alca.

"True," said Cassia. "I like the sound of that."

Cassius thought for a while before nodding in agreement.

Then, as if on cue, they cried out in unison, "Let's do it!"

Cassia continued, ''Pater is going to visit the Emperor soon! I could try to persuade him to let us come with him, and then we could carry out our plan! Perfect!" she finished, her eyes lit up with excitement.

"Now this is the hard bit," Cassia thought to herself grimly. "Persuading pater..." 

She walked into the room of the paterfamilias trying to swallow her dread, even though her lip was trembling.

Matilda Sidel (8)

Golden Sponge Stick 2010
first place 9 -11
Sarah from Ipswich Senior School won first prize in the age 9 - 11 category
with a powerful story about fate, loss & death:

An excerpt from "Love's Strong Pull"

It was the Summer Solstice, and every good Roman citizen knew what that meant. Every Summer Solstice the Fates decide to gamble on a certain human being and decide his or her destiny. That is what the Fates are for I suppose - they decide your luck once and for all. That Summer Solstice they picked a certain Octa Octavius.

Octa Octavius had jet black hair, a dark olive complexion and eyes the shade of chocolate. The day she died was a somewhat unusual day. She and her mother walked down to the forum to get some food such as stale bread and olives. Then suddenly Octa Octavius dropped down on the floor and stopped breathing for no apparent reason but her mother knew perfectly well what had happened - for she was a Fate...

Sarah Camilleri (11)

Golden Sponge Stick 2010
first place 11 - 13
Mia from Nonsuch High School for girls won first prize in the age 11-13 category for a
well-researched story about conspiracy & love in the court of Titus that could be expanded to a novel:

An excerpt from "Slave-girl"

Slave - the word I've been called all my life, my title, my name. The are many like me, all of us waking up just to go back to sleep. Although I pray to the Gods every night, Fortuna does not smile on me, she taunts me. Every day I must endure watching my mistress in her elegance; she does nothing except enjoy the luxurious parties her husband throws. At these events my mistress and her husband must always stand out, being the empress and emperor, and that is where I come in. If I were to make all her wildest dreams come true, I doubt I would be praised and yet if I do the slightest thing not to her impeccably high standard I should be beaten, and even sold if my mistress was in one of her rages. Marcia Furnilla and her husband, Emperor Titus, were my owners, they controlled me, at one word from them my life could end or in one moment of kindness I could be free forever. What it would be like to be free! Never having to run to Marcia when she needed her sapphire necklace! Never having to change her meals because she was allergic to peacock. Although it seems Fortuna hates me, Venus shields me with her protection for I am truly in love. Mariano, a slave like me, a coquus, is the one thing that stops me from screaming out loud during Marcia's boasts of all the wonderful social events she attended recently. Although, he doesn't know the thought of him fills me up with an emotion hard to explain, he considers me a friend. He believes he's in love with Marcia, but I know that is just an illusion, I know he cannot love her. Not her.

Mia Forbes (13)

Golden Sponge Stick 2010
first place 14+
Charlotte from Sherborne Girls' won first prize in the age 14+  category for
a moving, atmospheric & compelling story that reveals its truth bit by bit

An excerpt from "Pax Romana"

We remember that morning. We remember the dawn pulling back the night's black shroud and turning the sky to gold as myriad voices rose to greet the coming of the new day. Drums beat their throaty rhythms and the high call of the flutes danced on the wind, as light as a feather, and yet as strong and powerful as the earth of which it spoke. Faces, indistinct in the gloom, slowly began to emerge from the shadows. A ridge of a nose here, the gleam of an eye there, strands of hair streaming out and twisting together in the breeze; raven black to blazing red and a thousand shades in between. Faces and arms were daubed with intricate spirals and markings, each as individual as the faces of those to whom they belonged. The eyes of the singers were weary, for it had been a long night of song, dance and thanksgiving. Hands that had blazed trails of fire through the night sky now hung limply beside ash-smeared flanks, and many of the elderly rested their heads against the shoulders of their younger companions. However, the song never wavered and as the dawn drew closer the melodies rose ever higher into the bright air. That morning was a morning of song.

Reverent hands reached out and stroked our sides, laying offerings of sweet herbs mixed with the salty tang of lamb's blood at our feet. We heard the whisper of the grass, saw the dew gleaming on the feet of the swift-footed dancers and the marks in the earth where the torches had burned away at the soil. Soft voices whispered to us; prayers, thanks and honours reserved for us alone. They looked up to us, their link between their world and that of the immortals, and they prayed that we would forever watch over them. And watch over them we did, for these were our people; our singers, our dancers, our brethren and our children. We had stood over them since before the birth of even the most ancient among them, we had watched their three-times great grandsires grow from mewling infants into wizened elders. We were as old as the very plain on which we stood. Those who raised us up had long since passed away, their bodies returned to the earth and their spirits flown on to the Otherworld, but we remained. We remained there as we had always done, unchanged by the hand of man and time. But today, change was upon us at last.

Charlotte Robson (15)

There is still plenty of time to enter the 2011 Golden Sponge Stick Competition.

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