Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Presenting at JCL Events

A student in a lovely blue tunica.
Recently, I gave the keynote presentation at the West Virginia Junior Classical League (JCL) conference. It was an awesome experience for many reasons, including these:

1.  The high school students dressed up. Seriously, they had a toga fashion show.

2.  They didn't take themselves too seriously. The kid who dressed as Neptune drapped himself in Little Mermaid sheets. Also, overheard the boy dressed as Brutus say: Yes. The answer is yes.  (Think about it.)

3.   They declaimed the Pledge of Allegiance in LATIN!

4.  They took on Latin names/characters. (Overhead one teacher beg: "PLEASE use your English name and not your Latin name when filling out these forms." Ha!)

 5. They were bright and funny.

6.   They got my lame jokes.

7.   They asked really good questions. At the end of my talk, one kid wanted to know: "So, um, what did Caesar's wife Calpurnia do while Cleopatra visited Rome with Caesar?" A fifteen-year-old kid who KNEW Caesar's wife's name? Gods, but these are my people. (The answer? We don't know. But we can certainly imagine!)

Sneakers with a toga? A kid with my sense of style!

8.  They knew their ancient history but I still managed to surprise them with the odd factoid and/or story.

9.  They flirted with each other in character. (Overheard in a group of two boys and one girl:  "No, you can't date her, she is my daughter." "Dude, she's too old to be your daughter." "Um, I ADOPTED her. I'm the Pater Familias--I can do whatever I want." Girl in question rolled her eyes and left the conversation.)

10.They seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say and wanted to know why they couldn't get my upcoming novel, CLEOPATRA'S MOON, now.

The director mentioned the possibility of having me come back and speak to the kids again. Um, YES! Please?


Ashes said...

yAYE!!! Oh how I LOVED this post! I am so *glad* you got to go to the JCL conference! I fondly, fondly, FONDLY remember my yearly conferences with the AJCL....some of the happiest memories of my high school time! We used to sing the Gilligan's Island Theme Song in Latin, and there was a contest a coupla years to come up with the *best* "contemporary latin phrase" (ex: How much is that toga in the window, My place or yours? etc.). Plus the sneaker-toga combo.....WHAT A GREAT LOOK! Thanks for sharing. HISTORY GEEKS UNITE!

Karen Strong said...

Sounds like you had a great experience. Hope you told your daughter about all the kids dressing up. Ha.

And seriously, I can empathize with those students: Why CAN'T we get a copy of CLEOPATRA'S MOON? LOL.

Unknown said...

Great work Vicky! Your untiring and enthusiastic efforts to make history fun and accessible for youngsters is inspiring to behold.

That kid with the toga/sneakers combo is definitely onto something! I want that look to come into fashion NOW!

Also, thanks for listing me in your blog-roll!


Sally said...

My son is a techno geek but finding your 'people' is exciting and accepting in any forum. It sure looked like a lot of fun.

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Thanks for your kind comments, guys. I love being a history nerd!

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

How completely AWESOME!!!! I wish I could have been there - in toga! :) e

sally said...

very cool. I loved the comments you overheard.

Robyn Hood Black said...

What a great experience, Vicky for them and you! I had a great time with younger students in West Virginia in Nov. :0) Love the togas.