On April 6, 12 National Latin Honor Society (NLHS) and Latin Club members from Leesville attended the North Carolina Junior Classical League (NCJCL) State Convention at Wake Forest University. Throughout the day, participants engaged in various activities designed to teach them about classical language and culture.
NCJCL is North Carolina’s division of the National Junior Classical League. According to the organization’s website, “[its] purpose is to encourage an interest in the language, literature and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to appreciate the effect those Classical civilizations have [had on] our world today.” All members of the Latin Club and NLHS at Leesville are also paying members of NCJCL and the National Junior Classical League.
Throughout the year, NCJCL hosts two major statewide events: the Fall Forum and the State Convention. The theme of this year’s State Convention, “Apes non sunt solitaria natura” (“bees are not of a solitary nature”), came from the oldest Latin prose currently in existence. At the convention, Leesville students participated in academic testing, visual art competitions, a catapult competition, seminars, and more.
Dr. Mark Mash, a Latin teacher at Leesville and the advisor of both the Latin Club and NLHS, involves himself in NCJCL by writing academic tests and judging events at the State Convention. Each year, he chaperones Leesville’s delegation to the NCJCL State Convention because he wants to encourage students to explore Latin outside the classroom as part of the NCJCL community.
“It’s important to provide students an opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom and give them an outlet to pursue their own interest, whether it be in the arts, creative arts, further academic pursuits, athletics, and to let them have a chance to meet students from all across the state and to be recognized for their accomplishments and hard work,” Mash said.
The secretary of NLHS and a Leesville senior, Krysta Plesniarski, attended the NCJCL State Convention both in 2018 and in 2019. She enjoyed not only learning about Latin language and culture but also developing closer relationships with the other Leesville students in attendance.
“I went to the convention because I’ve done Latin every single year of high school, and I think it’s a really entertaining language, and you can learn a lot about it,” said Plesniarski. “The convention always has fun events going on, and it’s just a great way to bond with people and just learn more about the language.”
Along with Plesniarski, Cece Marks, another Leesville senior, participated in the 2019 NCJCL State Convention. However, Marks had not previously attended an NCJCL convention. At the event, she learned how other schools across North Carolina approach the study of Latin.
“I didn’t really know how widespread [the study of Latin] was and how deep some other schools went into studying the language and the culture, so that was interesting to see,” Marks said.