National Junior Classical League

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

AbbreviationNational JCL, NJCL[2]
TypeEducational, service
Legal statusNon-profit
PurposeClassical studies
HeadquartersMiami University
422 Wells Mill Drive
Oxford, Ohio 45056
  • USA
Coordinates39°30′17.75″N 84°44′59.50″W / 39.5049306°N 84.7498611°W / 39.5049306; -84.7498611
Region served
1st Vice-President
2nd Vice-President
Comm. Coord.
Committee Chair
Krish Sharma
Sophie Heitfield
Natalie Allen
Lilia AitSahlia
Alden Okoh-Aduako
Trisha Iyer
Jenny Chen
Mr.Todd Wegenhart
Parent organization
American Classical League
AffiliationsNational Senior Classical League

The National Junior Classical League (National JCL or NJCL) is a youth organization of secondary school students sponsored by the American Classical League (ACL).[2][4] Founded in 1936,[4] the NJCL comprises more than 1,000 Latin, Greek and Classical chapters in the United States, Canada, South Korea and the United Kingdom,[4][5] and with over 45,000 members,[3] is the largest Classical organization in the world today.[4] Its mission: "to encourage an interest in and an appreciation of the language, literature and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to impart an understanding of the debt of our own culture to that of classical antiquity."[1] The current NJCL National Committee Chair is Mr. Todd Wegenhart.

NJCL official colors are Roman purple and gold. It sponsors a Latin Honor Society and Greek Honor Society for high school students.


The idea of creating a junior organization to the American Classical League was first proposed in 1927 at the organization's annual meeting. A committee was appointed to study the matter, but it decided two years later that it wouldn't be worth pursuing at the time. In 1936, a pin was made and lifetime membership cost thirty cents, as it was decided to pursue the creation of a junior organization. The Junior Classical League was announced in November 1936 in Classical Outlook, with headquarters being established at New York University.[6]

Today, chapters exist in the United States, Canada, and Australia and has over 50,000 members.[7]

National convention[edit]

2011 General Assembly at Eastern Kentucky University, looking at convention participants

The NJCL hosts a week-long national convention annually at a college campus in late July or early August, where 1200–1500 students compete in academic tests, graphic and creative arts competitions, and meet many classics students from around the country.[4][5][8]

Other components of the convention in which students may participate include Certamen, a quizbowl-like trivia competition,[9] seminars commonly known as Colloquia, and Ludi (literally "games"—various athletic and recreational events). Students may also campaign for public offices within the NJCL, including President, Treasurer, and Historian. Starting regularly in 1972, every convention is given a motto/theme from Latin poetry or literature.[10] A theme for the following year's convention is chosen by the incoming president each year.[8]

Most state-level NJCL chapters hold their own annual conventions at locations central to their attendees, where schools compete in varied events. These events are divided into academic levels for scoring purposes; participation can be countywide, regional, or even statewide. Awards are given out to schools based on sweepstakes points, earned by placing high in competitive events.[5][11]

The 2018 national convention was held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio from July 23-28.[12] The 2019 national convention was held at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota from July 26-31.[13] The 2020 national convention was held digitally due to the COVID-19 pandemic from July 24-29.[14]

State chapters[edit]

As of 2010, forty-seven U.S. states, the District of Columbia, three Canadian provinces, and the United Kingdom each maintain a state (or state-level) chapter of the NJCL; the current total number is 51 as Oregon, Washington, state, and British Columbia share a chapter[3] under the moniker Cascadia JCL. Many chapters hold their own annual State Convention in addition to the National Convention.


Torch: U.S. is the NJCL's official publication, which details the events of the organization, reports scores, and issues stories. Published four times a year, the only issue sent to all convention attendees (including non-subscribers) is the fall issue, shortly after convention.

Until October 2007, the NJCL also published JCL Highlights in months when the Torch: U.S. was not published. JCL Highlights publicized administrative details about the League, including details about applying for JCL scholarships, information about the upcoming Convention, and requests for information from NJCL officers and national committee members. According to the Fall 2007 Torch: U.S., the National Committee decided at the October 2007 Fall Planning Meeting to eliminate the JCL Highlights in favor of online distribution of the same information.

During national conventions, a student published newspaper, The Convention Ear, is produced. The Ear highlights convention events and gives information about candidates for NJCL office.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Constitution and Bylaws of the National Junior Classical League" (PDF). National Junior Classical League. Retrieved October 17, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Chapter Handbook: National Junior Classical League" (PDF). National Junior Classical League. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 24, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "National Junior Classical League State Chapters". National Junior Classical League. 2010. Retrieved July 21, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e Whitehead, Paul N. (July 27, 2007). "Ancient culture is hip during Junior Classical League convention". The E.W. Scripps Co. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved March 26, 2010. The NJCL, an international society with more than 50,000 members from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, was formed in 1936 with a mission to encourage an interest in and an appreciation of the language, literature and culture of ancient Greece and Rome... sponsored by the American Classical League, works with junior high and high school students, and is the worlds [sic] largest classical organization.
  5. ^ a b c Flaherty, Julie (November 27, 1998). "In America's Schools, Latin Enjoys a Renaissance". The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2010. ... the National Junior Classical League, a confederation of Latin clubs... Students at state and national conventions don bedsheet togas, compete in 'Jeopardy'-style classics quizzes and eat grapes at Roman-style banquets.
  6. ^ Schearer, Susan. "58 Years of NJCL Convention 1954-2011". Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  7. ^ "About Us". National Junior Classical League. 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Price, Catherine (October 9, 2005). "In a Classical World, Nerds Walk With Gods". The New York Times. Retrieved March 26, 2010. Every year the Junior Classical League organizes a national convention that draws students for five days... This summer the convention... assembled 1,424 students and organizers to compete in sports, costume shows, oratory contests and a classics-theme trivia game called Certamen, a version of Jeopardy with questions about grammar, mythology, history and culture.
  9. ^ "The Passion of Latin Lovers". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 29, 2018.
  10. ^ "Convention Sites". Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  11. ^ Pope, Jeff (March 21, 2009). "Latin lovers gather at convention". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved March 26, 2010. ... this weekend at the Nevada Junior Classical League Convention.
    • Guo, David (July 1, 2007). "Carpe trophy! Frosh lead team to win". PG Publishing Co., Inc. Retrieved March 26, 2010. ...facing North Allegheny's Junior Classical League team as it sought its 10th straight title at Penn State University May 25–27.
    • Pilarczyk, Jamie (April 29, 2009). "Latin teacher wins award". Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. Archived from the original on May 2, 2009. Retrieved March 26, 2010. At the April 18 Florida Junior Classical League State Latin Forum, his students placed second in the state in the junior division.
  12. ^ "conv-2018". Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  13. ^ "conv-2019". Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  14. ^ "conv-2020". Retrieved February 7, 2021.

External links[edit]