CANE Writing Contest

Thanksgiving break is almost (or already for some) upon us! So of course that means, teacher math-wise, the last few weeks of the semester and winter break are also almost here. What to do within those final weeks, besides the Saturnalia celebrations and dreaded cumulatives?

Our wonderful treasurer and fellow Latin teacher, Katie Collins, as well as CANE has the perfect opportunity famae gloriaeque for your students: the 2023 CANE Writing Contest.

This writing contest is open to middle and high school students taking Latin, Greek, or any other Classics-related courses in the New England area. Applications are due December 15th to your state’s CANE representative. The winner is gifted their award and reads their submission at the CANE annual meeting in the spring. This year’s prompt is as follows:

“Goodness, then, is such a powerful thing that we love it even in people we have never seen, and, more remarkable still, even in those who have been our enemies in war.” -Marcus Tullius Cicero, Laelius: On Friendship

We, as a society, prize virtue and goodness in others. We often emulate others in our attempt to be kind and generous and to be a better person. We read about virtuous people we may never meet (i.e. the Dali Lama) and respect their goodness. Cicero believed that our desire for goodness is so powerful that we admire it above all other virtues. Cicero believed that we admire this virtue of goodness even in our enemies.

But, is this true? Can someone be our enemy in war and still exhibit “goodness?” If so, what does this look like? If not, then why not? Think of the heroes of the ancient world you have read about, both real, fictional, and even mythical. Would they agree with Cicero? Why or why not?

Is Cicero’s statement a call to virtue, or is it a problematic statement?

Further contest details can be found here.

Katie has sent us her assignment handout that she uses with her classes. She suggests giving students one class session to research, one to write, and one to edit. She also gives students the rubric used by CANE to grade each submission. Gratias multas for sharing, Katie! This is a great way to keep students focused before winter break.

To our college sodales – do your students have any writing advice for our tirones?