Tuesday, August 18, 2015

NJCL: Bigger in Texas

NJCL: Bigger in Texas
2015 National Junior Classical League Report

The 62nd Annual National Junior Classical League Convention was held at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, from July 27 to August 1, 2015. The Fiesta Room was open to book exhibitions July 29 to 31. Don Sprague and Connor Hart represented Bolchazy-Carducci during the allotted time, holding down seven tables of books and buttons through waves of people and periods of quietude. Traffic at our exhibit varied, most likely due to scheduling conflicts and being located adjacent to the Student Union rather than in it. Students and teachers had to decide to come to the exhibits; no “street traffic” wandered in. Still, several times conferees had to wait in line to purchase books or ask about Lectiones Memorabiles, eyeVocab, and other products.

The new buttons were a hit. One teacher even bought out our supply of four buttons for her classes. One young woman asked if we had a button with Cogito. Ergo sum femina. A number of students and teachers wore the buttons they received in their registration packets from our "classic" stock. Sue Roberts, on behalf of the NJCL leadership, came by the display to thank us personally for the buttons and encouraged us to do something similar again.

A fraction of the the B-C display,
with Lectiones Memorabiles,
and new buttons!
We held a fishbowl drawing and met good success. Twenty-three teachers and fourteen students signed up. Publicity via social media started late as we did not have internet access for the first couple hours at Trinity but once that was sorted out we sent out several live tweets as reminders. Unfortunately it seemed that not everyone was keeping up, or could keep up, with our tweets, as several students showed up after the drawing hoping to win. Student Winston Durand of Miramonte High School in Orinda, CA, took home Bundle 1, a set of culture resource books, while Andy Ellis, a teacher at Anderson High School in Austin, TX, took home Bundle 2 with the IB volumes and some Cicero and Ovid texts.

Students seemed very interested in the wide selection of prose authors and poets to choose from in the BC Latin Readers. Many students were also thrilled about the Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein books and many of these books were purchased. When the Wall Street Journal spoke to ACL Administrative Secretary Sherwin Little about an article on Latin and Latin translations, he immediately referred the reporter to Allan Bolchazy, who gave the comments published at the end of this article. A good number of students also showed interest in our Greek language books, such as Plato Transitional Reader, Twenty Greek Stories, and others, primarily for independent use. In addition, several sought Greek history and culture textbooks.

It impressed us to see all the students interested in Greek, especially at the independent study level. Some remarked how the term "classics" seemed more synonymous with "Latin" than with the relevance of the ancient Mediterranean altogether. Aside from this minor disappointment, students seemed overall enthusiastic and happy to be in Texas, despite the average temperature of 97 degrees. Even with the heat, we caught a parade of students in togas marching through campus as we packed up to leave on Friday.

-Connor Hart