March 15, the Ides of March, is a day rooted in the Roman culture, being the date of Caesar’s assassination. However, this year, March 15 marked the advent of another event integral to Latin: the Junior Classical League (JCL) State Convention.
State Convention is an annual two-day event where JCLers from all over California gather to celebrate the language that they love. Convention is loosely structured around three General Assemblies. The first General Assembly consists of opening ceremonies and a testing period, where all JCLers must take at least one academic test. The Spirit Competition, a major highlight at Convention, is the second General Assembly. During Spirit Competition, all the JCLers in each school cheer, shout, dance, and do anything they want to prove that they are the most spirited about Latin. The third and final General Assembly marks the end of Convention.
In between the General Assemblies, JCLers are free to organize their schedules to take advantage of the wide range of events at Convention. Hard-core Latin scholars can compete in events, such as Latin Oratory, Latin Sight Reading, and Certamen, to test their understanding of Latin. For athletes, there are many sports competitions, ranging from traditional ones, like basketball, dodgeball, swimming, to those unique to JCL, like chariot racing and quidditch. Artists can display their talents in various music, art, and dance competitions. Moreover, Convention provides many seminars for JCLers to further immerse themselves into Roman culture and the language of Latin. These seminars change with each Convention, allowing JCLers to learn new things each year. Convention always concludes with an elaborate banquet, where JCLers can dance the night away, try their luck at a mini-casino, or even watch their own teachers go head to head in the World Series of Certamen!
At this year’s Convention, Sage Hill High School hosted over 1200 delegates from over 41 schools. In addition to the usual competitions, Sage Hill added a few new events, like the Armor and Weapons Making Workshop, Gregorian Chant, and the Twelve Labors of Hercules, bringing a unique and interesting flair to this year’s Convention. Furthermore, JCLers had the opportunity to attend seminars about a broad range of topics, including astronomy, Socrates, Neo-Latin literature, and Euclidean geometry. JCLers even had the special privilege to see an authentically constructed Roman military camp, courtesy of Legion VI, a Roman military reenactment group based in Los Angeles!
With so much to do and so little time, even the most hardy JCLer would have found Convention to be, at times, overwhelming and exhausting. However, every JCLer soldiered through, energized by the thrill of being part of such an amazing experience. One JCLer provided his own perspective on his experience.
“Overall, this Convention was just awesome. There were so many events to choose from, and I have a lot more fun than last year. I’m really looking forward to next year!” And that’s something that all JCLers would agree with.
If you want to learn more about State Convention or about JCL in general, go to www.cajcl.org.
The National JCL Convention will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada from July 22-27. For more information, go to www.njcl.org.
Article written by Charlie Xu.