Weekend in Rome

Virginia Latin Convention 2016

Photo by: Jake Petrillo
Midlothian high school sudents get ready for the VJCL night life.

They came, they saw, and they seized the day at the Virginia Junior Classical League (VJCL) Convention, also known as Latin Con. Latin students from all around the state of  Virginia descended upon the Greater Richmond Convention Center for the annual Latin Con on November 20th and 21st. Students participated in multiple competitions, attended a variety of workshops, and met over 1600 other Latin students from around Virginia. A special thank you goes out to Mr. Marsh and Mr. Gifford for coming to support our efforts, judge contests, and transport stuff!

When the Midlothian High School students arrived, they dropped their luggage off at the hotel and crossed the skybridge that connects the Marriott to the convention center. Immediately, they went to drop off their art projects for judging and then headed towards a huge assembly in the main convention hall,  where all participating schools were present. Each school competes in a spirit contest, and the high volume of Latin spirit quickly became evident. After about two hours at the assembly, one successful attendee had already lost his voice.

During the day, students participated in testing and discamus sessions. The tests were given out in the main convention hall, and even the most advanced Latin student faced a few challenges during the test. Because of the difficulty, those who yield high scores receive awards from the VJCL at the end of the school year. Discamus sessions are lectures given in closed halls around the convention center. Every year, the VJCL head committee recruits professors and historians to head these sessions. Some of the particularly captivating discamus sessions held this year were: Medieval Latin, Roman Army, Roman Graffiti, and Gladiators.  

When the sun goes down, the togas come out, and VJCL attendees always come prepared. Around 5:30 pm, the banquet hall flooded with hungry people draped in only the finest linens. This truly sets apart the inside of the convention center from the outside. Alex Lilly described it as a “pane of glass separating worlds.” Subsequently, larger art contests are judged privately in lecture halls. Some of these include: the costume contest, storytelling, and latin oratory.

Later in the night, the committee turns the dining hall into a dance floor and a lecture hall into a karaoke stage. Alex Lilly and Mac Cartier graced the assembly with their rendition of Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire. Following Alex and Mac’s performance, Jinwoo Kim and Jake Petrillo sang Twist and Shout by the Beatles. Eventually, everyone found their way back to the hotel rooms and slept in preparation for the next day. Day two of Latin Con continued with several different contests. The convention came to a close with another massive assembly during which the committee leaders announced the students that will take their place next year, and the purple and gold colors were retired until next year.

Mariha Junaid successfully finished her term as 1st Vice President of the VJCL.  She helped to promote the VJCL via new social media platforms and inspired participation in events old and new.  Midlothian Latin Club was ranked 1st in the state for overall community service and 2nd in the state for its publicity.  Special thanks goes to Grace Davis and Bella Urcia for keeping track of all of our activities throughout the year and to all officers over the past year for coordinating all our events! Midlothian Latin Club’s newsletter, created by Grace Gouyer, was ranked 4th in the state.