A Student’s Perspective on Passing the Torch

In my senior year, as I look toward graduation, I reflect on my classical education. A significant part of my experience, as for many of us, has been my study of Latin. There are two ways I might describe my relationship with Latin: a constant companion or a haunting presence. Like most good things, at times, Latin has felt overwhelming. Memorizing the seemingly endless paradigms, wrestling with complex grammar like passive periphrastic, and trudging with Caesar through his campaigns in Gaul – all these can at times be grueling. However, there is great beauty in the artistry of Latin literature that lifts the mind above the mundane. Latin has enriched my education, drawing me into a great conversation that did not fall with Rome, but transcends time.  Today, I can confidently say I have embraced Latin as a friend.
As I approach the end of my time at Grace Academy, I cannot think of a better way to culminate my Latin journey than by assisting with the inaugural Tournament of Laurels. This national conference invites all classical language students from across our great country to come together for five days of competition and fellowship as we celebrate our shared experiences.

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)