Rahul Sharma (Editor)

National Junior Classical League

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Abbreviation  National JCL, NJCL
Type  Educational, service
Purpose  Classical studies
Formation  1936
Legal status  Non-profit
National Junior Classical League
Headquarters  Miami University 422 Wells Mill Drive Oxford, Ohio 45056

The National Junior Classical League (National JCL or NJCL) is a youth organization of secondary school students sponsored by the American Classical League (ACL). Founded in 1936, the NJCL comprises more than 1,000 Latin, Greek and Classical chapters in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and with over 45,000 members, is the largest Classical organization in the world today. 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." The current NJCL National Committee Chair is Mrs. Catherine Sturgill of Williston High School in Williston, Florida.


NJCL official colors are Roman purple and gold.          


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.

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


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

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

    NJCL Song (The Purple and Gold)
    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

    NJCL Creed
    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.


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

    Academic contests

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

    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.

    Creative arts

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


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


    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.

    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.

    Listed below are the current NJCL Officers (2016–17).

    Previous National Officers

    Listed below are previous national officers.

    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. 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.


    National Junior Classical League Wikipedia