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Latin Student of the Year!

I don’t often brag on my own students on this blog site.  Usually I want to write posts that share ideas and encourage each of you.  However, all of you who are parents and teachers understand that there are some times when your student does something so wonderful you just have to share or you will burst.  I have one such young lady that I must write about today.

Grace Academy has a Latin Club that is an active chapter in the National Junior Classical League. The NJCL is an organization of more than 50,000 members in the United States, Canada, and Australia.  It is the largest classical organization in the world today.  It’s purpose is to promote the study of classics in secondary schools (grades 7 – 12).  Each year we attend competitions on the area and state level.  Sometimes a few of our students will make the journey to attend the big national convention, where approximately a thousand dedicated young classicists convene at a university campus each year for a week full of competitions and events.  Nationals are the great pilgrimage for every truly dedicated JCLer.

I have one tenth grade student who enjoys NJCL so much that she has now attended for the past three consecutive years.  Ashton loves JCL.  She is hooked. Each year her goal has been to improve on the year before.  Each year she has challenged herself to pursue more competitions and excel at each one – this girl cannot do something half-way (at least not when it comes to Classics).  To list all the events that Ashton entered and placed in would be entirely too long for this post, but as a synopsis:

Ashton created and entered 16 pieces of art, studied steadily for two academic tests, wrote two papers, prepared a speech entirely in Latin, designed a costume and risked making a fool of herself in individual athletic endeavors.  She also played on the Texas delegation’s volleyball team.  At the area convention in February Ashton was elected Area F chair by her peers.  As such she was also responsible to prepare items for the Texas delegation (over 200 people) to use at  one of the pep-rally-like events they are required to attend at nationals.   Almost all of this was done over her summer break!

As a result of her dedicated efforts, Ashton placed in the top ten in every event she entered winning numerous first place awards.  This led to overall achievements as follows:

  • 4th place overall medal in Creative Arts
  • 1st place overall medal in Graphic Arts
  • 1st place Individual Achievement Award trophy (Overall Sweepstakes)
  • 1st place Lillie B. Hamilton Award trophy (Overall Highest Points, scoring points in at least 3 different categories)

Ashton, NJCL 2010

Ashton is the type of young lady I find described in “Do Hard Things” by the Harris brothers.  If you have not read that book, I highly recommend it.  Ashton’s achievement is the result of years of dedicated study and hard work, a palpable passion for classics, and parents who encourage her and support her in all that she does.  This causes her to not only excel in her classical studies, but in many other areas of life.  Congratulations, Ashton.  I applaud your efforts to “do hard things.”  Not even the sky can limit you.  You truly deserve the title, “Latin Student of the Year!”

You can learn more about the National Junior Classical League and their national convention at

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