Thinking About Emory: NJCL from a Virginia Teacher’s Point of View

Posted on August 22, 2014 by


We asked Virginia Latin teacher and NJCL participant Emily Lewis for an outsider’s perspective on this year’s National Junior Classical League Convention hosted in our own state of Georgia. 

By Emily Lewis

Let me start by saying that I LOVE NJCL! It is quite often one of the highlights of my summer. I have attended many now, both as a student and as a teacher, and this was my favorite one yet.

First and foremost, the staff at Emory was amazing, going over and above to accommodate us in a friendly, helpful manner at all times. This was, by far, the friendliest, nicest group of staff I have ever seen at any college, let alone dealing with an overwhelming group of teenagers over the summer! The facilities were gorgeous (big fan of this year’s dorms!) and the food was wonderful.

As far as the NJCL side of the convention, I am a Certamen coach for Virginia, so I tried to make it to everything I could outside of Competitive Certamen. Since I previously taught and coached in Massachusetts, it was absolutely terrific to see some of my former students and colleagues again. I managed to make it to all of the awards presentations and had the time of my life watching the incredible things my students could do. One of my delegates won Best In Show for dramatic interpretation, and watching her was amazing.

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The Virginia Novice Certamen team, with coach Brandy Henricks.

Of course, for me, most of my time was spent in White Hall with my Certamen teams or somewhere in the Campus Center, debriefing on Certamen rounds, or at one of the General Assemblies. Spirit this year was amazing and louder than ever, and it was very neat to see lots of new cheers and states I had not seen before turn out in force.

The Virginia Intermediate Certamen team.

The Virginia Intermediate Certamen team.

This was an incredible year for Certamen. The questions were excellent and the moderators were awesome. The Virginia teams faced tough competition but came in fifth (Novice), third (Intermediate), and third (Advanced). Although the competition was intense, the best part for me was watching all of the students exchange hugs after the rounds. The respect and friendship that JCL breeds are second to none.

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The Virginia Advanced Certamen team are Eggsperts.

My students, delegation, and I agreed as we headed home that this was truly one of the best organized, laid out, and run conventions yet, in all aspects. For us, however many medals, ribbons, and certificates we got, the true rewards are the hard work, the friends we make, and the memories of Emory.

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The Virginia Delegation at Emory 2014

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