Wednesday, November 23, 2011


That stands for the Virginia Junior Classics League.  They had a conference in Richmond Sunday and Monday this week and I was there as a chaperone with my daughter's Jr. High School.  My daughter is lucky enough to attend a school that offers Latin- she took "Latin for Word Power" in 6th grade, Latin I in 7th and now Latin II in 8th.  Last year we didn't attend the VJCL conference.  This year I sort of pushed her into it.

I am so glad I did!

It was really neat to see a conference with High School Students conducting the majority of opening assembly, voting, organizing, older college students now part of the SCL back to help out and basically 1600 "nerds" getting together to celebrate various aspects of what is "classics."

There were competitions, in oral presentation, in arts, dramatic presentation.

The 20th Legion was there.  They are re enactors, much like those in Colonial Williamsburg that our group is so familiar with, who re enact from the period of the Roman Empire.  They offered several lectures, on medicine and engineering, on military, and on the women and crafts which focused on spinning and weaving.  I attended the women's craft talk and really learned a lot about spinning, as well as "fullers" the people who did the washing of the clothes.  It was an industry, much like dry cleaning is today, one that relied on slave labor, and the elaborate set up is fascinating.

As a chaperone I was asked to volunteer twice, once for the judging of arts and crafts and once at the dance.  Why is there ALWAYS a dance?  Judging arts and crafts was very interesting as I got to see the many, many different categories, how things were judged (some of that was completely subjective) and of course the submissions.  Submissions ranged from nearly professional to "something someone slapped together on the bus."

My daughter's teacher repeatedly encouraged the kids to participate in the crafts contest and as my daughter's mentor enjoys needlepoint, she decided to give it a go.  After a bit of research she settled on an image she found on line: cave canem (interesting the photo can be bought from a variety of sources)

Instead of beware of dog, she settled on "knowledge is power" and wanted the words in the middle of a circle with similar flora and fauna motif to the mosaic.

But she ran out of time and the design organically modified itself to:

She finished the needlepoint the night before we were to get on the bus, and then as she was sewing the pillow together (it was to be a pillow to sit in the rocker she likes to study in) my sewing machine's needle broke! Horror! At 11 o'clock at night!  So she finished it by hand stitching on the bus.

She didn't quite finish it though, and while the judges were impressed with the piece they did not feel they could over look it not being done, and so she was awarded 3rd place instead of 1st.

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