Torch:U.S. LXV Winter 2014-2015 - Page 3


An Unexpected Journey


When I first met my Latin teacher, I have to admit, I was intimidated by her. I had attended Wakefield Country Day School since Pre School, and she had been teaching for as long as I could remember, and everyone who had ever had her adored her. Her boisterous voice scared me a bit when I was younger as did the idea of trying to learn other languages. The first day of Latin 1A in seventh grade, I had no idea what to expect.

About two months into the school year, my teacher mentioned the magical words. VJCL. State. Convention. But at the time, these words had no meaning to my class. When she explained what it was, most of my classmates only paid attention to the part about getting to miss a day of school to attend an overnight trip with friends. But my best friend and I were so intrigued by the idea of so many kids spending the weekend in Richmond, willing to lose sleep, to take tests, to memorize oratories, and attempt to make as many graphic arts as possible. We too became those kids, completely dedicated to the JCL within the first four months of Latin 1A. After our first State Convention, we vowed to never miss a convention. Though my school attended convention, we didn’t have a student run club, so she and I started one. That was the beginning. I quickly became a leader of our Latin club, then in the VJCL. I could never get enough JCL.

This year I plan to bring back the monthly State Presidents' Letter in order to keep everyone up to date with not only my progress in office, but also what the board has done so far. This should be starting December 1.

The other project I have decided to work toward is a google drive containing materials that explain JCL or try to gather interest in JCL. This would be available to anyone to view or to upload material to. The purpose of this is to make it easier to build a club that is more involved in JCL.

I cannot wait to see you all at the National Convention this summer in Indiana!

Ex animo,

Brier Clough

2015- 2016 NJCL President

Revamp the Classics

I often am asked—by friends, inquisitive parents, and even my own teachers—what the Junior Classical League is—but, up until recently, I couldn’t find the right words. At first, I offered the “dictionary” definition: “The NJCL is an organization of junior and senior high school students dedicated to the protection and promulgation of classical civilization in the modern world.” Accurate, certainly, but incomplete.

I moved through a variety of other descriptions—ranging from the mundane to the overly grandiose—but in the end, despite all my efforts, it was Brier who expressed it best. “JCL,” as Brier describes, “is like my traveling home. It goes where I go…my best friends are JCLers from all over the country.”

If JCL is our traveling home, then convention is a homecoming of sorts—this convention especially. 2016 will be NJCL’s fifth time at Indiana University—the first was all the way back in 1961. Incidentally, that convention was the first to have a theme (that we know of)—facta non verba, “deeds, not words.”

This year’s convention features a much different theme, adopted from Publilius Syrus’ Sententiae. Ubi concordia, ibi victoria illustrates the JCL’s interconnectedness and our desire to advance the cause of classical education throughout the country and across the world. For my own part, this year brings an opportunity to share some of my ideas and experience with you. Keep on the lookout for updates to the membership and publicity contests, the continued revamping of National Classics Week, and, hopefully, a number of new initiatives.

As for me, keep on the lookout for revisions to the membership and publicity contests, the continued revamping of National Classics Week, and a number of new initiatives. If you have any ideas or questions, feel free to reach out to me on Facebook or at

Cura ut valeas,

Michael Kearney

2015-2016 NJCL First Vice President

Spirit Away

A sea of togas flood the auditorium, flashes of purple and gold color the room, and loud chants proclaiming passion and JCL camaraderie swells up the hearts of all those around. Spirit props surf the crowds and love swims about enclosing every state, every chapter, every JCLer in the auditorium in a bond of indescribable intellect, friendship, and love. The feelings at toga procession each year at NJCL convention sum up why we are in the JCL. We perhaps join for the academic contests, artwork, even to be overly competitive Ludi players, but we stay for mutual appreciation of the classics and the simplicity of our bond of friendship together.

Ever since my first toga procession, I fell in love with spirit, the JCL, and the friendships I had made that week. Convention at Wake Forest had me jumping for joy (figuratively of course) and gave me the impression that the next few years of my life would be spent embarking on my own JCL journey. Even so, upon my election I am filled with the utmost gratitude and humility. Gratias maximas to all JCLers for electing me to this office and making my dream come true. This year of service and spirit will be legendary. We will reach new heights, set and accomplish higher goals, and collaborate to develop a more service oriented perspective of our amazing organization. Let us together progress, challenge ourselves and let ourselves be challenged, and strive for excellence through diligence, perseverance, and a little JCL Magic. I am ready -- are you?

Keep it PG (Purple and Gold),

Hanna Seariac

2015-2016 NJCL Second Vice President

VOICES · Torch: U.S. · Winter 2015-2016