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 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 Committee Chair is Ms. Amy Elifrits of West Chester, Ohio, a teacher of Latin at Lakota East High School (Liberty Township, Ohio).[6]

NJCL official colors are Roman purple and gold.          [1]


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.[7]

Today, chapters exist in the United States, Canada, and Australia and has over 50,000 members.[8]


The official philosophy of the National Junior Classical League is as follows:[8]

We believe that through the National Junior Classical League:

  • We will gain an active appreciation and understanding of the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome, thereby better enabling us as individuals to interpret and appraise our world today.
  • We have a sound structure, which provides a sound basis for expansion of our horizons and perspectives, intellectually, socially, and aesthetically.
  • We have a viable organization, which can effectively create in others a sense of awareness, interest, and appreciation as far as the value of the Classics is concerned.


NJCL Song (The Purple and Gold)[9]
Written by Dave Clements, Max Spires and Mrs. R.G. Frazier
Revised by Mrs. B.H. Norveson

Seeking the best, the highest our goal
Working for greatness through glories of old.

Searching the realms of the golden past,
We follow the Classics' truths that last

In knowledge, truth, and fellowship, we're growing everyday [sic]
The friendly hand of J.C.L. aids in every way.

In Rome's proud steps we're marching on,
With every true colleague,

And forever we'll hold to the Purple and Gold,
Of the Junior Classical League.

NJCL Creed

File:NJCL Creed recitation.JPG

NJCL Creed[2][10]
Written by Dorothy Park Latta

We the members of the Junior Classical League, covenant to hand on the torch of classical civilization in the modern world.

We believe an acquaintance with the civilizations of Greece and Rome will help us understand and appraise this world of today,

Which is indebted to the ancient civilization in its government and laws, literature, language and arts.

We affirm the JCL experience develops responsibility, fosters brotherhood, promotes enthusiasm, encourages competition, inspires dedication and enriches our total growth.

National Convention

File:National Junior Classical League rally, 2011.jpg

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][11]

Other components of the convention in which students may participate include Certamen, seminars commonly known as Colloquia, and Ludi (literally "games"—various athletic and recreational events). A theme for the following year's convention is chosen by the incoming president each year.[11]

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][12]

A popular event is the talent show, known as That's Entertainment!, always held on the night before the final farewell dance. It consists of skits put on by the NSCL between the individual acts, and since around 1985, a final surprise performance from a group of three mysterious men in suits and sunglasses, called the Racketeers (for the matching red tennis racket bags they wear on their heads), who walk on stage, perform a silent dance routine, and walk off.

Locations and themes

The National Convention has been held at many sites since 1954, usually in late July or early August.[13][14]

Year Number Site Theme
2016 LXIII
(63rd Annual)
Indiana University Bloomington
Bloomington, Indiana
"Ubi concordia, ibi victoria"
(Where there is unity, there is victory)
Publilius Syrus
2015 LXII
(62nd Annual)
Trinity University
San Antonio, Texas
"Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito"
(Yield not to misfortunes, but advance all the more boldly against them.)
2014 LXI
(61st Annual)
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia
"Omnium enim rerum principia parva sunt"
(For the beginnings of all things are small.)
2013 LX
(60th Annual)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada
"Quid sit futurum cras, fuge quaerere: et quem fors dierum cumque dabit, lucro appone."
(Cease to inquire what the future has in store, and take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.)
2012 LIX
(59th Annual)
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
"Dimidium facti qui coepit habet"
(He who has begun has half the deed done.)
– Horace, Epistulae I.40
2011 LVIII
(58th Annual)
Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, Kentucky
"Bene legere saecla vincere."
("To read well is to conquer the ages.")
– Isaac Flagg, 19th Century Classicist
2010 LVII
(57th Annual)
North Dakota State University
Fargo, North Dakota
"Non est ad astra mollis e terris via."
("There is no easy way from the earth to the stars.")
2009 LVI
(56th Annual)
University of California, Davis
Davis, California
"Fortuna nobis vi animi tantum frenabitur."
("The level of our success will be limited only by our imagination.")
2008 LV
(55th Annual)
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio
"Non nobis solum nati sumus."
("We are not born for ourselves alone.")
– Cicero, De Officiis
2007 LIV
(54th Annual)
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
"Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero."
("Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in tomorrow.")
– Horace, Ode I-XI
2006 LIII
(53rd Annual)
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana
"Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore."
("I hope that the memory of our friendship will be everlasting.")
– Cicero
2005 LII
(52nd Annual)
University of Missouri
Columbia, Missouri
"Nil sine magno labore."
("Nothing without great labor.")
– Unattributed
2004 LI
(51st Annual)
University of Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
"Facta non verba."
("Deeds not words.")
– Unattributed
2003 L
(50th Annual)
Trinity University
San Antonio, Texas
"Natura inest in mentibus nostris insatiabilis quaedam cupiditas veri videndi."
("Nature has planted in our minds an insatiable longing to see the truth.")
– Cicero
2002 XLIX
(49th Annual)
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
"Magnos homines virtute metimur, non fortuna."
("We measure great men by their virtue, not their fortune.")
Cornelius Nepos, Eumenes I
(48th Annual)
Tulane University
New Orleans, Louisiana
"Vultus ac frons animi ianua."
("The face and its expression are the door of the soul.")
Quintus Cicero, Commentariolum Petitionis XI.44
2000 XLVII
(47th Annual)
University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
"Faber est suae quisque fortunae."
("Each one is the architect of his own fate.")
Appius Claudius Caecus
1999 XLVI
(46th Annual)
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida
"Audentior ito qua tua te fortuna sinet."
("Continue to go more boldly where your fortune will allow you.")
1998 XLV
(45th Annual)
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, Massachusetts
"Patria est communis omnium parens"
("Our native land is the common parent of us all.")
– Cicero
1997 XLIV
(44th Annual)
North Dakota State University
Fargo, North Dakota
"Aspirat primo fortuna labori."
("Fortune smiles upon our first effort.")
– Virgil
1996 XLIII
(43rd Annual)
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana
"Nobilitas sola est atque unica virtus."
("Virtue is the true and only nobility.")
– Unattributed
1995 XLII
(42nd Annual)
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas
"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam."
("Either I shall find a way or I shall make one.")
1994 XLI
(41st Annual)
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
"Occasionem oblatam tenete."
("Seize an opportunity when it presents itself.")
– Cicero, Philippicae
1993 XL
(40th Annual)
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio
"Nullius boni sine socio iucunda possessio est."
("No good thing is pleasing without friends to share it.")
Seneca, Epistulae morales ad Lucilium
1992 XXXIX
(39th Annual)
San Diego State University
San Diego, California
"Mens sana in corpore sano"
("A sound mind in a sound body")
Juvenal, Satire X
(38th Annual)
Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia
"Cura mihi futuri."
("My concern is for the future.")
– Ovid, Metamorphoses XIII.363
(37th Annual)
University of North Texas
Denton, Texas
"Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit."
("Perhaps one day it will be pleasing to remember these things.")
– Virgil, Aeneid I.203
1989 XXXVI
(36th Annual)
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, Pennsylvania
"Unity in Diversity"
1988 XXXV
(35th Annual)
University of Colorado
Boulder, Colorado
(Cicero's "in friendship we find nothing false or insincere; everything is straightforward and springs from the heart")
1987 XXXIV
(34th Annual)
Stetson University
DeLand, Florida
"Nobilitas sola est atque unica virtus."
("Virtue is the one and only true nobility.")
(33rd Annual)
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana
"Aurea prima sata est aetas, quae sponte sua, fidem rectumque colebat."
("In the beginning was the Golden Age, when men of their own accord maintained good faith and did what was right.")
– Ovid, Metamorphoses
1985 XXXII
(32nd Annual)
University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire
"Omnis ars naturae imitatio est."
("All art is an imitation of nature.")
Seneca, Epistulae morales
1984 XXXI
(31st Annual)
University of Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
"Caelum certe patet, ibimus illi."
("Surely the sky lies open, we will go that way.")
– Ovid, Metamorphoses
1983 XXX
(30th Annual)
University of Rochester
Rochester, New York
"Qui mare tenet, eum necesse est rerum potiri."
("He who commands the sea has a command of everything.")
– Cicero, Ad Atticum
1982 XXIX
(29th Annual)
University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
"Auro quaeque ianua panditur."
("A golden key opens any gate.")
(28th Annual)
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio
"Mihi curae futura."
("My care is for the future.")
– Ovid, Metamorphoses
1980 XXVII
(27th Annual)
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
"Nullum saeculum magnis ingeniis clausum est."
("To great talents no era is closed.")
Seneca, Epistulae morales
1979 XXVI
(26th Annual)
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
"Bene cogitata si excidunt non occidunt."
("Good thoughts, even if they are forgotten, do not perish.")
Publilius Syrus
1978 XXV
(25th Annual)
North Texas State University
Denton, Texas
"Mens invicta manet."
("The mind remains unconquered.")
1977 XXIV
(24th Annual)
Florida State University
Tallahassee, Florida
"As runners we pass on the torch of life."
1976 XXIII
(23rd Annual)
University of Rochester
Rochester, New York
"Not to know what happened before you were born
is to be forever a child."
1975 XXII
(22nd Annual)
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana
"Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit."
("Perhaps one day it will be pleasing to remember these things.")
– Virgil, Aeneid
1974 XXI
(21st Annual)
University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire
"Fortiter, fideliter, feliciter"
("Boldly, faithfully, happily")
1973 XX
(20th Annual)
Claremont Colleges
Claremont, California
"Unity in diversity"
1972 XIX
(19th Annual)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Virginia
"Pax in terra"
("Peace on Earth")
1971 XVIII
(18th Annual)
University of Oklahoma
Norman, Oklahoma
1970 XVII
(17th Annual)
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio
1969 XVI
(16th Annual)
Tulane University & Loyola University
New Orleans, Louisiana
"Una stella fata nostra coniungit."
("One star connects our fates.")
1968 XV
(15th Annual)
Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
"Otium cum dignitate"
("Leisure with dignity")
– Cicero
1967 XIV
(14th Annual)
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
1966 XIII
(13th Annual)
Western Kentucky State College
Bowling Green, Kentucky
"Why JCL?"
1965 XII
(12th Annual)
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
1964 XI
(11th Annual)
University of Illinois
UbanaChampaign, Illinois
1963 X
(10th Annual)
University of Kansas
Lawrence, Kansas
1962 IX
(9th Annual)
Montana State College
Bozeman, Montana
1961 VIII
(8th Annual)
Indiana University
Bloomington, Indiana
"Facta non verba"
("Deeds not words")
1960 VII
(7th Annual)
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
1959 VI
(6th Annual)
St. Olaf College
Northfield, Minnesota
1958 V
(5th Annual)
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
1957 IV
(4th Annual)
Colorado College
Colorado Springs, Colorado
1956 III
(3rd Annual)
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio
1955 II
(2nd Annual)
Iowa State Teachers College
Cedar Falls, Iowa
1954 I
(1st Annual)
Incarnate Word High School
San Antonio, Texas



Certamen is a quiz bowl game with questions about Roman history, life, and literature, and Latin vocabulary, grammar, derivatives, and use in English.[5][11]

Academic contests

There are sixteen written tests that JClers may compete in at National Convention.[11]

These tests include grammar and reading comprehension by level, (i.e. Level 1 Latin, Level 2, Advanced (3 and up)). For the fourteen other tests, all take the same test but are ranked by level. These tests are Latin Vocabulary, Latin Derivatives, Latin Literature, Roman History, Ancient Geography, Roman Private Life, Mythology, Greek Life and Literature, Hellenic History, Mottoes (and Abbreviations/Quotations), Greek Derivatives, Classical Art, Academic Heptathlon, and Academic Decathlon. Classical Art and Academic Decathlon are taken separate from other tests, due to the relative specialization and difficulty.

Graphic arts

JCL delegates can submit artwork in various categories for contest judging.[11]

Creative arts

Creative Arts at National Convention include Sight Latin Reading, Costume Contest, Latin and English Oratory, and Dramatic Interpretation.[11]


Olympika are athletic events at National Convention. There are Olympika in swimming, track & field, and marathon.[11]


Ludi are events for which sweepstakes points are not awarded. There are Ludi in chess, soccer, ultimate frisbee, basketball, and volleyball which will replace kickball starting with the 2013 convention.[11]

National officers

At each National Convention, JCL delegates elect student officers. Each state may only field one candidate each year, and never for a position whose incumbent is from the same state. The offices are President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Communications Coordinator, Parliamentarian, Historian, and Editor. Voting is typically conducted by school in each state, with delegates casting two votes (for or abstention), with the exception of a delegation of only one JCLer, in which case only one vote is allowed.

During the 2002-2003 school year, current Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu was the NJCL President.[15]

Listed below are the current NJCL Officers (2015–16)

President Brier Clough[16] Flint Hill, Virginia
1st Vice-President Michael Kearney[17] Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
2nd Vice-President Hanna Seariac[18] Marlborough, Massachusetts
Communications Coordinator Jonathan Nozik[19] Sunnyvale, California
Parliamentarian Amanda Hansen[20] Las Vegas, Nevada
Historian Hannah Barrett[21] Shaker Heights, Ohio
Editor Woojin Lee[22] Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Previous National Officers

Listed below are previous national officers.


President Ruiqi He[16] San Antonio, Texas
1st Vice-President Maya Nandakumar[17] San Jose, California
2nd Vice-President Narayan Sundararajan[18] Shaker Heights, Ohio
Communications Coordinator Aliyah Quereshi[19] Brookfield, Wisconsin
Parliamentarian Ashley Blazek[23] Fargo, North Dakota
Historian Sarah Christian[24] Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Editor Amol Punjabi[25] Boston, Massachusetts


President Dan Jack-Jack Trunzo[26] Brookfield, Wisconsin
1st Vice-President Annee Lyons [27] Mount Airy, Maryland
2nd Vice-President Kathryn Gibson[28] Las Vegas, Nevada
Communications Coordinator Zain Kabeer[29] Gainesville, Florida
Parliamentarian Brandon Kim[30] Tujunga, California
Historian Hannah Novak[31] Naperville, Illinois
Editor Jack Godar[32] St. Louis, Missouri


President Caroline Tucker[33] Indianapolis, Indiana
1st Vice-President Peter Chung [34] Barrington, Illinois
2nd Vice-President Dan Trunzo[35] Brookfield, Wisconsin
Communications Coordinator Molly Hemenway[36] Falls Church, Virginia
Parliamentarian James Dow[37] Johns Creek, Georgia
Historian Janet Chen[38] Boulder, Colorado
Editor Trace Turner[39] Austin, Texas


President Daniel Kim[16] New Hampshire
1st Vice-President Erika Russ[17]
2nd Vice-President Akhila Ananthram[18] Texas
Communications Coordinator Safeeyah Quereshi[19] Brookfield, Wisconsin
Parliamentarian Sam Buck[40] Illinois
Historian Emily Chang[41] Boston, Massachusetts
Editor Kurt Ristroph[42] Louisiana

State chapters

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 Washington state and British Columbia share a chapter.[3] Many chapters hold their own annual State Convention in addition to the National Convention.[5][12]

  • Iowa JCL
  • Kansas JCL
  • Kentucky JCL
  • Louisiana JCL
  • Maine JCL
  • Maryland JCL
  • Massachusetts JCL
  • Michigan JCL
  • Minnesota JCL
  • Mississippi JCL
  • Missouri JCL
  • Nebraska JCL
  • Nevada JCL


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.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Constitution and Bylaws of the National Junior Classical League (PDF). National Junior Classical League. Retrieved on October 17, 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Chapter Handbook: National Junior Classical League (PDF). National Junior Classical League. Retrieved on March 14, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 National Junior Classical League State Chapters. National Junior Classical League (2010). Retrieved on July 21, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Whitehead, Paul N. (July 27, 2007). Ancient culture is hip during Junior Classical League convention. The E.W. Scripps Co. Retrieved on 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 largest classical organization.”
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Flaherty, Julie (November 27, 1998). In America's Schools, Latin Enjoys a Renaissance. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved on 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. Executive Board. National Junior Classical League (NJCL) (2014). Retrieved on 10 September 2014.
  7. 58 Years of NJCL Convention 1954-2011. Retrieved on 12 September 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 About Us. National Junior Classical League (2014). Retrieved on 25 March 2014.
  9. NJCL Song (The Purple and Gold). National Junior Classical League. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
  10. NJCL Creed. National Junior Classical League. Retrieved on March 25, 2010.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Price, Catherine (October 9, 2005). In a Classical World, Nerds Walk With Gods. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved on 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.”
  12. 12.0 12.1 Pope, Jeff (March 21, 2009). Latin lovers gather at convention. Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved on 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 on 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. Retrieved on 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.”
  13. National Convention Sites: 1954–2014. National Junior Classical League (2011). Retrieved on February 25, 2011.
  14. 50 years of NJCL Convention: 1954–2003. National Junior Classical League (2003). Retrieved on February 25, 2011.
  15. Wu Welcomes You to Trinity. National Junior Classical League. Retrieved on 10 September 2014.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2

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