What Happens When 1,000 Classics Nerds Unite? A Look Inside the 2013 NJCL Convention Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in Latin Language

I’m Amelia Deering, and I will be a freshman at Elgin Academy in the fall. I adore all things linguistic, and Latin will always have a special place in my heart. I am the grammarian on my school’s certamen (aka Latin Jeopardy) team, and conjugating and declining are my two favorite things. I have attended one regional Northern Illinois and one National Junior Classical League convention, and loved both.

Every July for 60 years, there is a large gathering of more than one thousand super-duper classics nerds, and it is way louder, smarter, and all around more awesome than Comicon. What heaven on earth could possibly hold both of these characteristics? The convention of the National Junior Classical League, of course! What is the NJCL convention, you ask? A week-long meeting of themost passionate and amazing people in the country gathered in celebration of the classics.

I attended this year’s convention at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. The theme this year was Quid sit futurm cras, fuge quaerere, et quem fors dierum cumque dabit, lucro appone.” (Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.) Though the theme was rather wordy- and difficult to fit on a t-shirt- it exemplified perfectly the feeling of convention. Being only a week long, the days fly by, and soon they’re gone forever, whether you got the most out of them are not.


Ludi Volleyball

There are countless fun activities to express your “JCLove” at the convention, from spirit competitions where everyone screams out their passion for the classics to certamen matches, the hyper-competitive Jeopardy of the Latin world. People can also participate in both Olimpika and Ludi, battles of high-intensity physical sports. Shout-out to all my not-so-athletic brethren– Ludi chess is also offered, and is just as competitive with considerably less running.

Another way people show off their love for the classics is through tests, which are a lot less boring and terrible than they sound. From Mythology and Latin Grammar to Roman Life and even a wide-reaching Heptathlon, chances are that your favorite classical subject has a test.


People collecting their many awards!

Not into tests, sports, or screaming? Don’t lose hope! The Graphic and Creative arts competitions allow every kind of artist and orator a chance to shine. There are categories for every interest, from traditional mediums such as sculpture and mosaic to more unconventional ones, such as t-shirts and textiles. For creative arts, students of all levels can either memorize and perform a speech, story, or poem in Latin or write a speech on a classical theme in English.

Life, however, is not a competition. Also during convention there are daily General Assemblies, or GAs, where all state delegations come together and share in the convention news of the day. One minute, you’ll be hearing a heartfelt- and hilarious- speech about a long-time conventioner, and the next you’ll be watching your national officers having a dance party!


Your Normal, Everyday, Color-Coded General Assembly

When you’re not doing your state proud in competitions or sharing your passions at GA, try attending a colloquium! You might learn about something new, like the Roman outpost in Wales, or help out the community by making adorable crib cards for newborns in the neo-natal care unit. At NJCL convention, every day brings new opportunities, learning experiences, and friendships. So try it out for yourself and learn more about the NJCL on their website! Valete, and I hope to see all of you at Emory in 2014 for another amazing convention!


Have you ever been to a Classics or Latin-related event or convention? Tell us about it!

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