Junior Classical League to host competition on Feb. 15


Hailey Dirks

Junior Jacquelyn Burrer and senior Sumana Syed receive forms to enter into the JCL competition. In the background, there are winning ribbons from past JCL competitions.

The Junior Classical League area competition will be held at Hebron on Feb. 15.

 This competition is the Latin students’ opportunity to prepare for the state competition and get a feel for the competition tests. Any student who is currently enrolled in, or has taken Latin or Greek can attend.

“There’s a lot of studying because if you’re in Latin 1, you take the same test as someone who is in Latin 6,” junior Jacquelyn Burrer said. “You’re graded based on what level you are, and then you place based on the highest score. So, you have to study a lot.”

Hebron decided to host the JCL competition because the proceeds act as a fundraiser for the Latin club to help cover the cost of  students attending the state competition.

“Preparing for the convention is typically studying, practicing and memorizing material for the event, but this year we have to manage logistics as well since we’re hosting,” senior Abby Reiger said. “We’ve got to recruit enough volunteers to make the event run, coordinate food [and] times, make sure the sponsors of the other Latin clubs are well informed and on the same page and tons of other small things that result from having a bunch of nerds at Hebron for a whole day.”

In the morning, there is a general assembly, where information is given to the students. Academic testing is from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. There are a variety of topics students can be tested on, such as vocabulary, grammar, Greek history, ancient geography and mythology. 

“If they [the students] place first or second in any event, the district pays their entire trip to the state convention,” Latin teacher Courtney Herring said. “So that’s really what they’re working towards.”

There are spoken events where students perform dramatic Latin passages or speeches that they have memorized, as well as costume contests. This year’s mythological characters are Polyphemus and Sybil. There are art events going on all day, and the competition should wrap up by 6:30 p.m.

“The idea is to spread the love and study classical civilization, which is Latin and Greek,” Herring said. “I just like seeing all of the Latin teachers and students from the area all come together. It’s very fun to see that other people are just like you and they like the same weird stuff that you like. I just enjoy the atmosphere at the competition.”

Quiz Bowl, which is similar to Jeopardy!, is a team event that covers mythology, history, grammar and Roman life. It is the only event that gets a trophy. There are three levels: novice, intermediate and advanced.

“The convention is to build a community of people who simply love the classics and can bond over this subject area,” Reiger said. “A lot of it is competition based, but with the spirit of friendly competition, of course. It’s another way for us to continue our learning about Latin and ancient Rome when there’s not enough time to cover it in Latin classes.”

Any student can attend area, state and nationals if they choose to, but the district does not  fund it unless they place first or second. There are only a few events that you have to win in order to advance. For most events, first through fifth place get ribbons. Seventh through tenth get a certificate. 

“It also helps keep our Latin program feeling like a family,” Reiger said. “Students who may not necessarily be in Latin class anymore can still compete and spend time with students who are in Latin, so it’s another opportunity for everyone to get to know each other.”