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Sir Ian McKellen - Actor and Old Boy

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Boys Impress in National Classics Competition

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Three Bolton School boys have been successful in the Jowett Sendelar Classics National essay competition.

Year 10 pupil James Chia was ranked 5th for his essay on the Greek Gods, Year 8 pupil Mohammed Fazal was ranked 22nd for his essay, also on Greek Gods, and Ben Tillbrook, also Year 10, was ranked 38th for his essay on Warfare. These are exceptional results as there were 106 entries in total from 23 schools including strong Classics schools such as Bristol Grammar School, The King's School, Ely, Rugby School, St Albans School and Sevenoaks School. Mohammed's performance was particularly impressive as he was in Year 7 when he submitted his essay - one of only four entrants below Year 9 who took part.

Entrants had a choice of four categories - Warfare, Greek Gods, Rome or Greek Mythology, and had to submit approximately 1500 - 2500 words on their chosen question. Judges were looking for the ability to provide coherent analysis and sustained argument.

The Greek Gods question was the most popular with 33 entries and both James and Mohammed chose this topic. They had to discuss which god or goddess they would most like to have been and why, explaining why their chosen god is better than the others and using relevant mythological detail to back up the argument. Judges said the best candidates argued fully with reference to a range of Greek myths and showed an understanding of a god's flaws as well as successes. In addition, they justified why they themselves would like to be a particular god/goddess and explained why they had rejected other potential deities. James chose Hermes as his preferred deity and presented him as an impish and reckless god as well as a talented inventor and protector for travellers. He argued that, in the guise of Hermes, his charming appeal would have allowed him to have been a participant and influential adviser in a great number of key myths involving celebrated heroes. He also showed an appreciation of the difficulties which he would face in being the son of an adulterous father.

Ben chose the Warfare question, giving his thoughts on why Athens lost the Peloponnesian War against Sparta, considering tactics, long-term strategy, the Sicilian Expedition and the role of Persia.

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Ben Tillbrook, James Chia and Mohammed Fazal

Ben Tillbrook, James Chia and Mohammed Fazal