I’m never prepared for anything, so it doesn’t surprise me that I’m frantically scrambling around my bedroom at five o’clock in the morning throwing the only pair of leggings that don’t have a hole in the thigh into a duffel bag. I’d worked until eleven o’clock the night before and exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling. I should have packed earlier. It’s alright, no one wears a different pair of pants every day anyway.
I drive an illegal—but not unreasonable—fifteen miles over the speed limit and arrive just in time to throw my bag on the back of a bus headed for Rock Eagle. Junior Classical League, informally known as Latin Club, holds a state convention at Rock Eagle every year and despite being Vice President of the club, I still have yet to attend. I’m excited, even though I’m foregoing my junior prom and a best friend’s birthday dinner to devote three days and two nights to my love of the classics.
The packing list, curated by Mrs. Rossino herself, advised students to bring flashlights, phone chargers and a white sheet for the famous toga party, most of which I had forgotten in my haste. Nevertheless, I hunker down for the two hour long bus ride. After a quick stop for delicious Publix sub sandwiches, we arrive at the Rock Eagle campgrounds.
Boarding is, interesting, to say the least. For some reason, despite the fact that the historian for the National Junior Classical League attends Chattahoochee and our sponsor is nearly five months pregnant, we’re still assigned to one of the more dated cabins further away from the dining hall. Chattahoochee students are resilient and so we take it all in stride. Luckily, I’d been paired with a roommate who had no qualms with killing the spiders found crawling on every single surface of that room.
The weekend is initiated with General Assembly, in which all of the school sponsors and their students crowd into the auditorium to meet our President, Vice Presidents, Historians, and so on. One of the most entertaining aspects of the weekend is that each day is an ongoing competition between the schools to show the most latin pride. The Chattahoochee attendance was meek and sparse but we made up for it with obnoxious bells and whistles, literally. The chanting of the schools accompanied by the noise of the blow horns and megaphones created the most deafening volume you could imagine.
After an hour long pow wow, students are relinquished to do whatever their hearts desire. Each day is broken up into multiple subsections: General Assembly, Workshops, Testing, and Certamen, the Latin version of High Q. Those who’d rather watch Ludi, athletic games, are able to, while some students can battle against other schools in Latin Quizbowl teams. Schools sell their cleverly designed shirts to those who wish to buy them.
On Saturday night, the majority of our already sparse chapter headed toward prom, but those who stayed behind had the option to participate in another string of tempting activities including team trivia, a very selective talent show, and chariot races. The entire weekend was so jam packed with activities that students would need to make a conscious effort not to find something that interested them.
The majority of the weekend served to reinforce one thing: my love for Latin club. I enjoy the classics (Latin and Greek) and the JCL because it teaches youth that without the foundation lain by those who came before us, we’d be unable to adequately appreciate the world around us today. Latin Club does more than provide students with an exceptional outlet to express an interest in something that may differ from the status quo, but it also brings a myriad of different people together who appreciate the world as it once was. I want to be involved in a club that teaches unity, camaraderie, and understanding, and Latin Club provides me with all of those things. For these reasons, I look forward to participating in Latin Club not only in my senior year, but in college as well.