As part of its outreach activities, the department regularly hosts the North Carolina Junior Classical League’s annual meeting. The event brings approximately 600 young Classicists from middle and high schools across the state to take competitive Latin quizzes, share their artistic displays, and race chariots, among other activities. It is also a great time for members of the department to reconnect with alumni who return to their alma mater with their own students. Below, alumna and the head of the convention, Ashlie Canipe, BA ’08, shares more about the event, and the impact the event has on the middle and high school students who convene to share their love of Classics. 

Ashlie Canipe, BA ’08
JCL Coordinator & Chair and Instructor of Humanities, Thales Academy Rolesville

Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito” (“Yield not to misfortunes, but proceed all the more boldly against them”) is the quotation from Vergil’s Aeneid that inspires the events of the Junior Classical League during the 2014-2015 school year.

On April 17 and 18, approximately 600 middle and high school students competed as part of the Junior Classical League on UNC-CH’s campus in more than thirty creative and academic competitions anchored in the Classics as part of the North Carolina Junior Classical League’s annual State Convention.

Also attending the events were more than fifty of these students’ teachers and parents, as well as alumni and members of the Department of Classics who hosted educational sessions on a variety of topics: Prof. Emily Baragwanath held a session titled “Athletes and Oracles at Delphi;” graduate student Patrick Dombrowski, “The Rise and Fall of Rome’s First Family;” and alumnus David Frauenfelder, PhD ’91, “The Magic of Declensions.” Notably, Mark Mash, PhD ’10, escorted his students from Wake County to the event as well.

“It was hugely rewarding to speak about ancient athletes and oracles at the JCL event,” Baragwanath reflected after leading her lecture. “The students brimmed with energy and enthusiasm (which invigorated me in turn!) and asked a number of excellent questions. They are obviously delighted to have such an opportunity to meet UNC faculty and grad students. It’s a terrific event, and certainly important for the department in enabling us to connect with the younger generation of classicists.”

The event also drew Joe Goodkin who gave several performances of his 30-minute, folk-opera version of the Odyssey.

Among the competitions offered at the convention is Certamen, a Quiz-Bowl-style contest with questions about Roman history and culture; Latin vocabulary, grammar, literature; and Greek and Roman mythology. Students also compete in events such as Latin skits, dramatic interpretation using Latin texts, English oratory, and academic testing.

But JCL isn’t just all fun and games. Students recite at the opening and closing of the convention their belief that “the JCL experience develops responsibility, fosters brotherhood, promotes enthusiasm, encourages competition, inspires dedication and enriches our total growth.” From the assemblies led by student officers to the competitions requiring mastery of various bodies of knowledge within the Classics, students who participate in JCL evidence significant growth in all areas that others can easily observe.

For one, James Rives, chair of the department, was “blown away by the energy and enthusiasm of these students for Latin and Classics more generally,” while observing the students during the opening ceremony.

With such zealous students on hand, it should come as no surprise that the event was a success, and students left looking forward to the next time they would gather on UNC’s campus.