Hundreds of students, decked out in bright white togas, rush through the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia. To someone unaware of this cultural convention, it may have seemed like these students were yelling indecipherable phrases. However, while this language is dead in the real world, Latin still unites high school students all around the state.
On November 17 and 18, the Virginia Junior Classical League (VJCL) held their annual state-wide Latin convention, bringing together young Latin learners to Virginia’s capital for further Latin enrichment.
“[The] VJCL Latin Convention consisted of Latin classes from multiple schools across the state gathering for Latin related contests, lectures, and fun, along with the yearly VJCL board elections,” Emma Campbell, a junior Latin student at McLean, said.
Despite Latin being an uncommon language spoken in everyday life, it was the key factor that brought together hundreds of students that weekend.
“It’s important that students participate in the VJCL Convention to broaden their knowledge in the realm of Latin. More importantly, students are able to engage with other schools and different people across the state through a single commonality, which is Latin.”
The VJCL Convention also allowed students to further their Latin skills outside of a classroom setting.
“I decided to go because I was interested in learning more about the Latin language in a different and fun way,” Campbell said. “I learned how to better develop my skills in the spoken aspect of Latin and how to more accurately comprehend lectures spoken in Latin.”
Composed of various lectures and presentations from Latin experts, students experienced different mediums of Latin enrichment.
“Latin Con helped me further my skills in the Latin language through the multiple lectures and contests centered around Latin. I learned new things from the lectures and was able to view posters, sculptures, and photographs from a variety of contests, which overall really captured the essence of the Latin language,” Campbell said.
Not only was the VJCL Convention highly educational, but it also instilled new friendships and tighter bonds among the high school Latin community.
“What surprised me the most about the convention was just how tight knit the entire Latin language community is. I had no idea that everyone across the state was so close to each other,” Campbell said.