page twenty one
Looking back as an 11th grader on my time in the Junior Classical League, I’ve realized that Latin is more to me than just a bullet point on my college résumé or a passion. Because of the JCL, my ordinary life turned into a beautiful, enriched JCLife.
When Magistra Henricks first introduced the Junior Classical League to my Latin I class on the first day of 7th grade, I had no interest whatsoever. As a 12 year old boy who only wanted to be “cool,” I deemed it uncool to spend my precious free time with a bunch of mythology-obsessed nerds saying “Salve” and “Carpe Diem” to each other all day. However, with the promise that I could win trophies and strengthen my college applications, I decided to give the JCL a try. As the year went on, I noticed that I was spending more and more time each day hanging out, with so-called “nerdy Latin students,” laughing about Latin student problems, and reading books to prepare for certamina. Although I would never admit it then, I was hooked by Latin, and my JCLife began.
Since then, Latin and the JCL have afforded me many opportunities and experiences that have shaped the person I am today. Through certamen, I gained self-confidence. Through my recent experience as Virginia JCL Historian, I learned leadership skills and became (somewhat) proud of my photography skills. And, of course, through local, state, and national events, I have gained many valued friends, all of who have given me so much joy over the past few years. JCL has seen me from a hyperactive, popularity-seeking 12-year-old into a mature, self-confident 17 year old.
My story is far from unique; in truth, it’s probably more of a cliché within the Latin community. However, the commonality of what I say only adds value to it. The JCL has changed so many lives for the better, and it will continue to do so for years and years. Once you are a part of the JCL, you begin to live a JCLife — and you will never regret it.
by merritt schwartz, vjcl historian
At left: Candidates discuss their campaigns informally with interested delegates and schools sell a variety of merchandise at the Meet the Candidates/Bazaar event at state convention. Photo by Katya Mikhailenko.