Upper and middle school members of the Junior Classical League attended the California JCL convention at Menlo High School over the weekend. At the convention, students participated in academic, athletic, and competitive events related to the classics.
The convention also included elections for student state JCL government offices. This year, Vice Presidents Ben Beckman ’19 and Taia Cheng ’19 were voted in as parliamentarian and historian, respectively. Along with advising the First and Second Vice Presidents, Beckman’s duties will include amending the JCL constitution, maintaining procedure at board meetings and helping to facilitate statewide elections. Cheng will be responsible for recording an accurate record of JCL’s year and creating a scrapbook.
“I ran for office simply because JCL has changed my life and I want help share and spread this experience I had to as many Latin students as possible,” Beckman said. “Being sworn into office on stage at our third General Assembly in front of 1300 other devotees of the Classics was definitely my favorite experience this year. Having just won the election, I felt well-wishes and support from the entire JCL community in entrusting me with my job. In addition, I felt immensely proud at, after all these years, finally being able to be on the stage I’d seen kids be sworn in on for the past five years as well as having the honor to serve this community that I care so much about.”
Upon their arrival on Friday night, students took mandatory tests to evaluate their language skills and cultural knowledge. Participants also played Certamen, a trivia-style game in which students also use their Latin knowledge to answer questions ranging from historical figures to grammar. Prior to the conventions, students also practiced for the Certamen competition during JCL’s club meetings.
Participants also prepared for chariot racing, another highlight of the convention, by building and testing a chariot in advance. Out of the four races this year, upper and middle school students combined won one, came second in two, and third in the last.
Students were free to choose which events to participate in. This year, activities included escape rooms, bubble soccer and reciting Latin literature along with various others.
“My favorite experience this year has been spending time with my friends and meeting new people who are excited about studying classics,” Justin Ansell ’20 said. “I have gained a new appreciation for the depth of students passion and enthusiasm for learning about classical history and language.”