Latin Club/Junior Classical League

Structuring our JCL (Latin Club) Chapter

First post! Welcome!

I wanted to write something about Latin Club (JCL) for my first post, since I find very little about it out there on the Internet. There are tons of great Latin pedagogy blogs, but it’s hard to find ideas for Latin Club specifically. I hope this helps if you’re thinking about building a JCL chapter.

Last year (my first year teaching), we had a fairly active JCL chapter. Our club held semi-regular meetings where we watched movies, listened to Elvis songs in Latin (fabulous!), ate lots of bad-for-you food, and spent time together. We had about 50 students or so registered in Latin Club, which meant about 15 or 20 who would regularly come to meetings. We also attended the GJCL Convention, bringing about 20 students – a big success for our first time attending as a school!

Fast forward to this year: instead of 50 registered JCL students, we have¬†110. Instead of 3 students attending Fall Forum (like last year), we had 14. I imagine we will have at least 30 students attending GJCL Convention in the spring. On top of this, we’re expanding the activities we’re doing as a club: a tailgate for Parochial Schools Night, a Christmas party with a Secret Santa-esque cookie/candy swap, a Google Expeditions “tour,” a Breakout Edu experience, and more.

Organizing all of this would be impossible without my two Latin teacher colleagues, our fantastic department head, and the entire team of administrators, maintenance men, and clerical staff at our school. But the other key ingredient is our leadership team.

Last year, we had officers for Latin Club, but we (read: I) didn’t have much for them to do. This year, we structured our leadership team and officer positions differently. Here’s how it works:

  1. We have Latin Club, and within that, we have a group of students called Latin Club Leadership (LCL). The only requirement to be in LCL is that you sign up for it and you come to the meetings; this means students from freshmen to seniors can feel ownership in the club.
  2. Within LCL, we have a team of officers. Our officer positions are pretty simple:
    1. Co-consuls (one junior, one senior)
    2. Secretary
    3. Historian
      This year, we have two secretaries and three historians. We opened the officer positions to anybody who wanted to claim them, so we have all four grades represented on the officer team.

So how does this work? We expect all LCL members to attend¬†LCL meetings, where we plan the next general meeting (especially if it’s something that will involve lots of resources and/or food) and any upcoming special events, like parties or Works of Mercy (a service requirement of all students at our school). I run these meetings now, but in the future, I plan to hand the reins over to the co-consuls. Our secretaries keep the minutes in Google Docs and create Sign-Up Geniuses (and in the future, Google Forms) for upcoming events, and our historians meet to plan their ongoing project of creating the scrapbook.

I like this structure a lot. It gives the students a healthy amount of responsibility while leaving the Big Stuff (keeping track of money, registering our school for JCL, etc.) for me to do. Plus, even our freshmen feel involved in Latin from the very beginning, something that’s incredibly important to the three of us Latin teachers.

How is your club structured?