Over the years, Latin has woven itself into the very fabric of my life, from third-grade Latin jingles to Logic School Latin conferences, and eventually holding office in my school’s Latin Club. One highlight of my own Latin journey was the annual JCL (Junior Classical League) Latin conference. This conference was more than just a gathering of Classics enthusiasts; it was a celebration of language, culture, and camaraderie. Participants engaged in Latin tests, delivered speeches, created works of art, and even competed in various Olympiad races. What distinguished this event was that it wasn’t about individual glory; it was about competing as a team to earn the coveted cup for our school. I can vividly recall the electrifying moment when they announced the results, and the room erupted with joy as our school’s name echoed through the hall: “GRACE ACADEMY.” The cheers, the jumping, and the shared excitement of passing the trophy among teammates were unforgettable moments that bonded us together. Contrary to the modern individualistic narrative, it ignited something that is part of the experience of being human–working together for the good of the whole.
Now in my senior year, I am eager to take on new challenges and make meaningful contributions to the Latin community that has offered so much to me. Participating in the Tournament of Laurels allows me to give back and help other students embark on their own Latin journeys. I am excited to offer others the opportunity to experience the comradery, devotion, and sheer joy that I once experienced at JCL. This conference calls together all of us who have grown up in classical Christian education. We have a unique shared experience not only in the study of Latin and Greek, but also in things like the study of Logic and Rhetoric, developing a senior thesis, and reading the Great Books of Western Civilization. This tournament allows us to share in that conversation together, and at an event designed with a clear Christ centered purpose. I see my work in developing this tournament as the ultimate capstone project, as a way to pass the torch to my fellow classical peers, to ensure that Latin’s flame continues to burn brightly in the hearts of future generations, proving this is indeed much more than a dead language.
Latin may be a haunting presence in my life, but it is a welcome one. It has been a source and reminder of joy, camaraderie, and personal growth. Through Latin, I’ve discovered the richness of a language that has left an indelible mark on our culture, history, and myself. As I look ahead to the next chapter in my Latin adventure, I do so with gratitude for the past and enthusiasm for the future. Latin and Greek aren’t just merely mortal languages; they are a connection to a timeless heritage and a community of passionate individuals. Come, join me, as we celebrate together at the Tournament of Laurels.
~Naomi Noble is a senior at Grace Academy (TX)