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The Sydney Morning Herald

Friendly rivals with a love of Latin talk the same language of success

Author: Alexandra Smith, Education editor
Date: 17/12/2014
Words: 436
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News
Page: 6
Janek Drevikovsky and Grant Kynaston have been sparring in the classical languages for years but, in the end, the HSC proved a dead heat. The boys, who share a love of the humanities as well as languages, were the standout performers in this years HSC. Janek came first in five subjects, while Grant was first in four.

Janek topped Latin continuers and Grant was first in the state in Latin extension, a fitting end to a friendly rivalry which began with interschool Latin reading competitions.

Janek, from the selective Fort Street High School, also topped German continuers and extension, and English extension 1 and extension 2, while Sydney Grammar School graduate Grant also came first in Classical Greek continuers and extension and modern history.

Only a handful of students have achieved such impressive results in the past 15 years, according to the NSW Board of Studies.

Janek said he was fairly confident he had performed well in his English subjects but was shocked when the news came that he had topped five subjects.

I was asleep when the first call came but I rejected the call and went back to sleep ... but then I called the Board of Studies back and they told me I had come first in a couple of subjects and my hands started to shake ... I thought I had done well in but never in my wildest dreams did I think five subjects, Janek, 18, said.

I love the classics [because] there is something so rewarding about studying a world that is so mysterious and so much of it is lost yet at the same time is so accessible and human in the original language and it can be so moving and distant ... and such a brilliant foundation for other languages.

Janek, whose Swiss grandmother introduced him to German, hopes to study arts law at Sydney University, with plans to go into academia or become a barrister.

I mentioned to the [education] minister on stage when he gave me my award that I also had my eye on politics, but I did give him the proviso that it would be for the other party ... he did look a little bit sad about that, Janek said.

Grant, 17, from Pymble, said he crossed paths with Janek when they began competing in the first of several Latin reading competitions when they were in Year 10.

I caught on to Latin in about Year 8 and I really loved it because it was a new window into these new cultures in a really meaningful way, Grant said.

Latin should definitely make a comeback and I think it is slowly getting there.

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