By Mary Marshall
I had an advantage growing up in the world of JCL. My mother was a Warren Central Latin teacher, meaning I grew up surrounded by Latin and the Classics. Some of the first stories I ever heard about my childhood involve me running around calling for my vacca, which I was searching for among my farm animal toys. Many of the books I asked for in middle school were related to mythology. My fourth grade classmates were upset when they learned the Latin teacher was my mother, and therefore I had a few years head start over them. They also claimed I had an advantage because she would be easier on me, but as the Indiana JCL can tell you, being her daughter meant greater expectations and working harder. That is one of the things I'm most thankful for when it comes to the JCL; the engrained expectation of working hard and doing your very best in all parts of life. It was a blessing to be raised by my JCL family, who have heavily shaped who I've become.
Growing up, I was expected to attend the annual summer picnic before the bus trip to National Convention. I would always assist at the picnic any way I could, including being Tony Martin’s "table" by holding all the food for grilling - both before and after it was cooked. While my mother was a club leader and later an Indiana co-chair of JCL, it was often a joke that I was born specifically for JCL and was an IJCL legacy. I knew many of the leaders before high school, and before I walked into my very first State Convention at Indiana University in 2010. I was lucky to grow up among many of the NJCL Greats; Sharon Gibson, Tony Martin, Jeremy Walker, and Dennis Barlow. They have shaped who I am, especially through my high school and college careers. They were my mentors, and I knew I wanted to give back to their causes the way they gave to me. With their assistance, I held multiple offices at the state level throughout both of my academic careers, and continue to give back to the JCL - no matter how far away I may live. I love going back, not only to see the friends who have become family along the way, but also my cherished mentors.
While in college, I took numerous classes with classical themes. One such class was my honors college course, covering Dante’s Inferno. The class was taught by one of my mother’s former Latin teachers. It was fascinating. She frequently went off topic to teach us more about the Ancient Romans and their connections to current everyday life. She would go into intense detail about mythology and Roman history, thoroughly engaging all of us in the lesson. She never focused on just one small topic. While I didn’t pursue the classics or Latin as a career base, my degree of Criminology and Criminal Justice utilizes many basic ideas from Ancient Rome when it comes to crime and punishment. Latin also assisted in my classes that focused on law and the procedures therein. I also spent time teaching my classmates how to remember law terminology and the term's connections to Latin.
While the Classics were a larger part of my upbringing than it may now seem, I am beyond blessed to have met the people and have been a part of an ancient culture that has shaped nearly all facets of life. The Classics and community this club created has given me so much has been amazing, and I only hope I can return the favor. I love making the trips back home to Indiana to help the SCL with different JCL events, and assist Indiana’s co-chairs in any way possible. The Indiana JCL shaped my leadership skills, decision making, my level of independence, and trained me to think on my feet.
JCL and Latin will always have a very special place in my heart. I don’t necessarily use it everyday in my life, but I use it from time to time (especially in trivia competitions). I also have a plethora of pictures of amazing memories and friends, several Latin and Mythology books, and keepsakes from all sorts of conventions and events. I will always make time for this bright and beautiful part of my past, and hope to shape my future and the future of others with what I have learned from Latin and JCL. I am a proud JCL legacy, and am thankful for all the opportunities I was born into that allowed me to become the strong, service-driven woman I am today.