Latin students participate in annual VJCL convention

Jefferson’s delegation placed in multiple competitions, creating works of art, reciting speeches, and demonstrating mastery of Latin grammar


Photo courtesy of Shrinidhi Sathish

Partaking in a cheer during the 2019 VJCL convention, junior Kelly Mao claps with other Jefferson Latin students

Rachel Lewis, Staff Writer

Students from Jefferson’s Latin department participated in the annual Virginia Junior Classical League (VJCL) convention on Sunday, Nov. 24 and Monday, Nov. 25. Jefferson sent over 100 Latin students, from freshmen to seniors, to Greater Richmond Convention Center for the event. 

Delegates participated in a wide array of competitions  in the Academic, Creative and Graphics categories, with many Jefferson students placing in the top three in their events. Of these, 10 Jefferson students won “Best in Show” for an event, and four won special awards: senior David Chen won the Maureen O’Donnell Grammar Award, senior Emily Ye won the Annie Aldridge Top Achiever Award and the Susan Shearer Award, and senior Joseph Amsbary won the Bob Parks Mythology Award and the Hughlings H. Himwich Academics Award.

Delegates from Jefferson had to take six Latin tests, which focused on different areas of the language, such as vocabulary and grammar. However, they could compete in art-related events as well. 

“I participated in impromptu art and the graphic arts contests,” senior Joy Chung said.

There were other Latin-related activities at the convention, such as lectures and ancient crafts like weaving and pottery. In addition, there were non-Latin-related events to relieve the tension of the competition, such as karaoke and a dance.

Chung attended VJCL’s convention for the last time this year, although she hopes to participate in the college version (Virginia Senior Classical League) in the future. 

“It’s always so amazing to see all the enthusiasm these students have for Latin,” Chung said. “It’s a great opportunity to bond with friends both within and outside of TJ Latin.”

Conversely, freshman Daphne Feigin attended VJCL for the first time this year. 

“This is my first year in Latin, but I’ve been having a lot of fun so far and it seemed like a good opportunity to get to know more people that are in both [the] TJ Latin program, and just in Latin in Virginia,” Feigin said.“I learn[ed] more about the language as a whole and like the community that exists. It was very fun.”