By Kristina Mihajlovic
I’m here to tell you about how my Classics education led me to my non-Classics career, linguistics. I decided to take Latin in high school, which was one of the best decisions I ever made because, like so many of you, it led to so many other wonderful experiences, opportunities, and relationships in my life (and I know it will continue to do so). Throughout high school, I was heavily involved in my local and state JCL chapters, and went to state and national conventions for all four years, under the excellent mentorship of my teachers, Jeremy Walker, Ryan Collier, and Sara Robertson. I was so in love with my experience with JCL that I made a decision to become a Latin teacher so that I could continue to share the Classics and the JCL with students of my own for the rest of my career, just as my amazing teachers had done for me.
When senior year came around, I applied to only one university: Indiana University (go Hoosiers!). IU Bloomington ticked off all my boxes: it was large and public and offered almost anything I could ever want to study, which at the time included Latin, Classics, languages, and history. I started college as a Latin major, but in my first semester, I also took a course titled “Language and Culture” because I knew that I liked languages (because I loved learning all about Latin, and my parents also spoke another language), and I also liked culture. I later learned that this course was an introduction to linguistic anthropology, or the study of human civilizations by use of linguistic - or language - methods. While I enjoyed the whole course, I was absolutely obsessed with all the linguistics. I knew I had to learn more about linguistics - the scientific study of language - and how it could be used to study humans and our world.
Within a year, I had declared my Linguistics minor, and within two years, my Linguistics major. I completed undergraduate research in a lab, and got funded to present both my research projects in Salt Lake City and Berlin (shoutout to the McNair Scholars Program!). At the same time, my Latin major became a Latin minor, and then a Classics minor, since I hadn’t taken enough Latin language courses to satisfy a Latin minor. I graduated college with a Bachelor’s in Linguistics, with minors in Classical Cultures and Literature, History, and Slavic Languages and Literatures. After graduation, I immediately moved to Tucson, Arizona to pursue a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Arizona.
I definitely use my Classics education everyday in my field of study. Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which means that we conduct peer-reviewed research by investigating critical questions all about language and its various components, e.g. about sounds (phonetics and phonology), words (morphology), phrases and sentences (syntax), and meaning and context (semantics and pragmatics), to name a few fields of study (there are certainly more!).
When I was learning Latin in high school, what I thought was an obsession with Latin was so much more than that: it was a love of languages and piecing together the puzzles of how language works. Without a doubt, I learned a lot about English language, grammar, and comprehension in my Latin classes, and those invaluable lessons translated into key skills when it comes to linguistics. For example, I can explain the minutiae of grammatical jargon to my colleagues, like what is meant by the Latinate “voice”, “mood”, and “declension” (and all of you could too!). Additionally, I have honed in my critical attention to detail when working with language data, a skill I still use to catch typos, point out logical inconsistencies, and strengthen and clarify arguments to this day.
Even though I am not a Latin teacher, I have been so happy with every leg of my academic journey because every step led me to exactly where I am now. My Classics education continues to serve me well, and I recommend anyone who has the opportunity to read up about Latin, or enroll their children in a school with JCL. I have always been a “it’s about the journey, not the destination” kind of person. If I didn’t take Latin, not only would I have never participated in JCL or met any of you (*shudders*), but I also don’t think I would have discovered my love of languages, linguistics, or teaching. I probably never would have started a PhD program, moved to Arizona, met my partner, started salsa/bachata dancing, or done any of the things that make me me. I don’t usually entertain the “What ifs?”, but I definitely think about the “Thank goodness I did _”. Well, thank goodness I decided to take Latin and participate in JCL when I was 14, because I never would be where I am today without it.
By Ian Anderson
The concept seems a bit odd now – parodying magazines – do they even still make those any more? But in the days before Facebook, Twitter, and even Amazon, magazines were kind of a big deal. Below are a former Editor’s recollections of a bygone Ear, from a bygone era.
1 – The Convention Ear
Speaking of magazines, a personal favorite of mine (a byproduct of seeing it on the shelves daily while working at a grocery store) was The Weekly World News. When I was elected Editor, I knew in the back of my mind that the first issue of the Ear would have to be a play off that bizarre combination of crudely Photoshopped images, outlandish headlines, and absolutely ridiculous yet straight-faced credulous storytelling. Needless to say, my WA/BC SCL comrades and I had many a fun night before convention coming up with the “news” for this issue.
Fun Fact: On the second day of convention, I was approached out of the blue by some eager JCLers who had assumed that this would be the Ear theme for the week, and they had gone to the trouble of writing up a funny story about a bee attack for the next issue. I felt bad breaking the news that this might not fit in with the next day’s theme…
2 – Convention Reports
This was probably the issue that was the most fun to create. I think the “Certamen Machine Buyer’s Guide” is probably my favorite bit of content from the entire week. Although “Fun Dip, Is It Safe” is up there too.
Fun Fact: The Personals were not originally intended to be rated. But at 2 a.m., it just felt right (although some SCLers who shall remain nameless took issue with certain ratings of certain personals).
3 – E A R
I knew this one was going to need some “gravitas” as it would hold the officer candidate profiles. In this instance, gravitas meant a tight crop of Augustus of Prima Porta’s fancy breast plate (in just-barely-enough resolution). Speaking of the candidate profiles, little did I know that my future wife would be one of the many, MANY, profiles that were part of this lengthy edition. She’s the cutie from Louisiana running for Parliamentarian!
Fun Fact: The Got Latin? ad at the back of the issue got us into a bit of trouble with the printers for using up too much ink. I remember Steve Gentle coming to me early the next morning and passing along the message from the print shop: “Yeah, don’t do that again!”
4 – Rolling Ear
I can’t say much about how we got “the interview” - it’s the type of thing that will forever remain a mystery. But, I can say that it took FOREVER to tweak the Rolling Stone header into a believable-looking Rolling Ear moniker (if you look closely, you can see where I ran out of time as there’s no angled 3D stripes coming off the trailing ‘a’ and ‘r’).
Fun Fact: This was the first year the Ear included digital photos taken at convention. Many thanks go out to Steve Gentle and his trusty Apple QuickTake camera with its marvelous 8-photo capacity!! The cover art for this issue would not have been possible without it!
5 – Convention Illustrated
Despite our best attempts to intersperse some Olympika photos (premiering the first of many, many future action-shots of swimmers, basketball players, etc.), this issue is definitely driven by the motherload of “personals” that comprise almost 50% of its content. This was definitely the “peak personal” era of NJCL conventions.
Fun Fact: Remember earlier when I said the print shop got mad at us for using too much ink? Well, the cover for this was also supposed to have a solid background behind Discobolus… but I had to tone it back to a nice 80% grey to be a bit more forgiving to the toner cartridges.
6 – The Convention Ear
This was supposed to be a LIFE magazine parody… although it was probably a stretch even then as the actual magazine was on its last legs by then.
Fun Fact: This was back when an additional Convention Ear was published on the final going-home day of convention. Mercifully, this practice has long since been abandoned, allowing Ear staff some much needed rest and recuperation (and fun times) on the last night of the week.
Extra Bonus Fun Fact: These Convention Ears were all assembled using Quark XPress. If you know what Quark XPress was/is, honestly – you should run for Editor!!
By Stephen Gentle
What I remember most about my week at SDSU as editor in 1992 - beyond the 6.5 hours of *total* sleep I had that week - was that it was the week that Hal Rather died.
You may know Hal Rather's name from the award that bears his name. Hal was from Tennessee, and he was a legendary character in SCL, even though he was barely out of his primary membership. He and his friend Tom Cheever from Massachusetts were hosts for That's Entertainment for a few years, and they were comedy gold. His recurring bit as Bob, the Generic JCL Candidate from Guam, was legendary in the early 90s.
When we arrived on the SDSU campus for Convention in August of 1992, Hal had been fighting cancer for almost a year. My recollection is that he was doing well enough, you know, for fighting cancer. In retrospect, that may just have been my youth believing that no one as young and vibrant as Hal could suddenly be gone.
And then he was.
We were in the Ear Office tossing around some ideas for That's Entertainment skits, when the Ear Office phone (a land line!) rang. It was either Mary or Geri from the JCL desk, asking with a very concerned voice, to talk to Cheever, his best friend. It was one of those moments of disbelief that slows everything around you, and you can't believe it's real.
I remember being numb.
I remember lots of tears.
I remember hugs with the only family that mattered to us at the moment.
I remember someone told Sister Jeanette Plante, who came immediately to the SCL dorm to support us. Sister Jeanette offered the sweetest words of comfort and a very moving prayer...all for "Al".
I remember the sobs becoming stifled guffaws because that's the kind of humor that Hal would have loved - a nun earnestly comforting his friends while getting his name wrong. We all knew Hal was laughing his ass off.
So how does this relate back to the Convention Ear? In two ways - both in Issue 4.
On page 6, there's an article recapping Bob, the Generic JCL Candidate. In a bit of serendipity, Cheever had written the article before Convention, and we were planning to run it on that day anyway.
More importantly, on pages 4-5, you will see a simple tribute to Hal, penned by Cheever, that still hits me in the feels when I read it.
Hello friends and future friends,
Before we stormed Fargo, we took over Minneapolis for Pre-Convention! Between strolling through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, hiking down to the Minnehaha Falls, and rediscovering masterpieces from the golden past at the Minneapolis Art Institute, it was a wonderful time! Some of us also went on our own separate adventures including canoeing on lake Calhoun, exploring the architecture and skyline views from the Stone Arch Bridge, and running the Minneapolis Aquatennial 5K.
We also ate at some fantastic local restaurants! We visited the original Hell's Kitchen (before Gordon Ramsay's show), Hen House, Izzy's Ice Cream, and Pizza Luce. Between skyline views, good vibes, and great food, Pre-Convention was a wonderful time.
I hope everyone has had safe travels to North Dakota, and I look forward to making new memories with everyone!
Salvete, SCLers! I’m here waiting in the airport for my connection to Fargo, so I thought I’d connect you to the latest SCinteL.
This year your NSCL board has created The Friendly Handbook of NSCL (alternatively titled The Iron Fistbook of NSCL). This will offer as a guide for new and established SCL chapters to write a constitution, run events for JCLers, and carry out their duties as officers. This handbook also includes the important addition of the NSCL Code of Conduct. While this Code of Conduct utilizes the same verbiage as the NJCL Code of Conduct which is applicable at convention, the NSCL Code of Conduct is applicable year round in any situation involving two SCLers. This protects SCL 24/7 365!
Another change you might see more directly at convention is signing in for SCL GAs! Woooo! Members who have paid their dues will be able to sign in on a physical sheet of paper. These sheets will be updated each day as new members register and should expedite SCL GA sign in.
Also, to recognize the hard work of our SCLers, instead of Queen of the Day or Allstar of the Day, in honor of the convention theme “bees are not of a solitary nature” (which all SCLers definitely know every year)- we will award Bees of the day! Perhaps you could be a bumblebee, carpenter bee, queen bee, yellow jacket, B rated bee, and more!
Now you’re in the know about SCL. Can’t wait for you all to see these changes in person in Fargo!
Your Big P,
I’ve been busy SCLers! These past few weeks I’ve been putting together the final bits and pieces to the handbook, creating the first Ear, and publishing the last LOL! I also helped judge the Publications, and I have to say they all look spectacular. Even though they aren’t SCL, give the JCL newsletters a look through. It’s so cool to see everything they’re up to throughout the year.
With convention approaching at WARP SPEED, I wanted to promote a few things and discuss a little of what I’ll be up to there. First thing’s first though, if you’re looking to be involved in the Ear — or have a great idea for an article — message me or @me in the NSCL FB group. I’ll respond, and we can work something out!
At convention, you’ll find me either
a) doing my adult duties as a zombie, or
b) working on ears, or
In either case, I’ll be accessible to chat about the Ear. Give it a read through at meals too (pls).
I hope you’re all excited! I know I am — especially since it’ll be my first year as a FULL TIME SCLer! I am a bit nervous though, since again, first year as an SCLer.
Drop me a line though, and let’s connect! I’m looking forward to seeing you all there.
By Ann Nguyen
Every year in early to mid March, LJCLers and LSCLers alike swarm to the hive: Holiday Inn - South on Airline Hwy in Baton Rouge. This year, convention began with the Ides of March and continued through to the 17th.
LSCL had lots of fun moderating Academic Testing and Certamen, judging Graphic Arts, sequestering students for Creative Arts, running and DJ-ing Olympika, and putting on a spectacular That’s Entertainment which featured an appearance from the Ionas Fratres and some Ides of March Madness playoff coverage. We also hosted a lovely SCL/Slasher Ice Cream Mixer, where we added new members to our LSCL colony.
From creating an American Ninja Warrior-level obstacle course to debuting our first single, “Year 753 (B.C.E.),” LJCL Convention was a buzzing success! But we couldn’t have done it without our 18 amazing SCLers coming in from across the state and country. Special thanks to our fabulous guest-CL, Kristina Mihajlovic, for dropping by to say hello and sing the NSCL Song with us.
We can’t wait to all get together again for Nationals!
Congratulations to our newly elected board:
President - Jacob Summerville, Southeastern Louisiana University ‘21
Vice President - Clare Plunket, Louisiana State University ‘21
Secretary - Ann Nguyen, University of Southern California ‘22
Treasurer - Christin Chachula, Louisiana State University ‘23
By Jason Long
Salvete omnes! We hope you enjoyed your visit to NJCL Convention in Ohio as much as we enjoyed hosting you. Our sixty-ninth annual convention was from March 9th to 11th. The theme was from Catullus V: “Soles occidere et redire possunt.” We had 25 OSCLers in attendance, and gained 21 slashers at this convention. Below are some highlights from our weekend in Columbus.
Two new committees were created for our chapter’s merchandise and website respectively. We held a fundraiser for The Sportula, a scholarship fund for Classics students, and donated $100. We won the only Ludi event held at OJCL conventions, napping. Now OSCL President, Tullus Dean, was a celebrity, especially in the eyes of our state’s biggest delegation, who is Tullus’s biggest fan. We introduced Queen of the Day at our convention for the first time. Congratulations to our winner, Bob McDonald.
Check out more photos from our convention on the Gallery page of our website.
By Susie Szymanski
The 66th Annual Indiana Junior Classical League State Convention was held March 8 and 9 at Indiana University, Bloomington. The ISCL had a tremendous time getting together to serve the IJCL, and the chairs, teachers, and chaperones were grateful to have them back.
In attendance were Kristina Mihajlovic, Mary Marshall, Kathryn Szymanski, Rebekah Maddack, Ryan Sizemore, Emily Fender, Casey Akers, Alex Rettker, Cameron Rachford, Emma Poor, Sara Schumacher, Skyler Sheck, Susie Szymanski, and the ISCL sponsor Tony Martin. Together, they helped with testing, certamen, That’s Entertainment moderating, and creative arts and graphic arts judging.
The newly elected 2019 – 2020 ISCL board consists of:
President: Susie Szymanski,
Vice President: Cameron Rachford,
Secretary: Emma Poor,
Treasurer: Skyler Sheck,
Parliamentarian: Casey Akers, and
Historian: Alex Rettker.
ISCL member, Rebekah Maddack, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for her work as assistant Academic Chair and Modern Myth judge. Bekah has been a member of the ISCL for eight years and is earning her master’s degree at Lincoln Christian University.
When reflecting on her 8th state convention, ISCLer Kathryn Szymanski says, “Even though I don’t know the answers to certamen questions, I still enjoy coming back. It’s fun to see the IJCLers try new contests each year and be proud of themselves.”
After this convention, the members of the ISCL have many new ideas and a vision for next year!