Junior Classical League
The National Junior Classical League is an organization of junior and senior high school students sponsored by the American Classical League. It is composed of local and state chapters and is the largest Classical organization in the world today. Its purpose is to encourage an interest in and an appreciation of the language, literature, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to impart an understanding of the debt of our own culture to that of Classical antiquity. Through this mission, it also seeks to enrich the whole student through academic, artistic, athletic, and leadership pursuits.
Here at Sage Ridge, we have our own local JCL chapter. These Middle and Upper School students, with the guidance of their club sponsors, can participate in weekly club meetings. Upper School students take the lead to plan and prepare for yearly events.
When I was in grade 6, I realized that all of the "cool" big kids at my school loved JCL. At the time, I had no clue what the JCL was, all I knew is that I wanted to take part in the fun. That drove my decision to take Latin, which turned out to be one of the most important academic choices that I have made...The JCL has had such a positive impact on my life, and I would highly recommend it to any student.
Ana Ohnersorgen ('18)
An Inside Look
If you ask our Latin students why they like Latin, they will likely tell you that one reason is the opportunity to participate in Junior Classical League. Latin is certainly a useful and thrilling language option on its own, but being a member of the Junior Classical League certainly nurtures a love of ancient language and civilization even more.
Any Latin or Greek student at Sage Ridge is welcome to join our local JCL chapter. Our members are also encouraged to join JCL club, during which Middle and Upper School students come together to plan local events and prepare for state convention.
Each December, Sage Ridge School JCL hosts an event called Saturnalia Saturday. We invite other clubs in the Reno area, including Classical Conversations, a homeschool co-op. Students have the opportunity to meet other Classics enthusiasts and participate in fun activities such as playing Certamen (a team Classical trivia competition), learning about the ancient holiday Saturnalia, and more. We also host a philanthropy project at this event. Past projects have included canned food drives
Each spring, all Nevada JCL chapters gather for the state convention, an event that most Sage Ridge JCLers would declare to be the highlight of the year. Convention is a one-and-a-half day event planned and run by students on the Nevada JCL board with help from local sponsors. The activities at convention, while themed around Classics, aim to engage the whole student. Here are some highlights of convention:
- Academics: Students can participate in competitive or open Certamen. All students take at least one academic test in their choice from a variety of subjects, including grammar, derivatives, mythology, and Roman daily life.
- Art: Students can enter graphic art in a number of categories, including studio art of various media, handicrafts, maps, greeting cards, and more.
- Athletics: Students can compete in a number of athletic competitions. A crowd favorite is the opening activity of convention: the open footrace, in the tradition of the ancient olympics. Other competitions that students sign up for include track and field………
- Spirit: Students show their enthusiasm for their school and for the classics by performing cheers with their own school at maximum value. The school that is most unified and enthusiastic takes home the first place spirit prize. (It is worth noting that Sage Ridge usually wins.)
- Service: The Nevada student board selects a philanthropy project benefiting the local area for all students to participate in. In the past projects have included making cards for veterans, decorating bags for the Ronald McDonald House, making blankets for the homeless, and others. It’s a great way for students to share what they like to call JCLove.
All in all, Nevada state convention is a memorable experience for all who attend.
Each July, the National JCL student board and adult committee host the National Convention at a different university each year. This is a supersized version of state convention: over a thousand students from around the country participate in five packed days of activities, competition, and fun.
An important piece of some students’ JCL experience is participating in leadership positions. Students have the opportunity to apply for a Nevada state board position and be appointed by the state chair. If students have gone to at least one national convention before, they have the opportunity to run for a national office. There is a variety of roles, each with its own responsibilities. In addition to these official positions, the Sage Ridge sponsor encourages Upper School JCLers to take charge at club meetings, to plan the club fundraisers, and to run events. Students not only have fun being officers or running the club, but also find value in these opportunities. Students learn responsibility, gain a sense of accomplishment, and can even connect with other officers around the country.
from Zoa Katok ('19)
I was in the Junior Classical League. We went to this competition in Southern California where for the after party they rented out Knott's Berry Farm...I remember I rode a roller coaster like fifteen times just looping back around because there was no line...I thought a lot about the history and the meaning of what it is to connect with a language that's more than 2000 years old while you're zooming around on a roller coaster.
David Adams ('06)