Renaissance Public Academy pioneers Oregon Junior Classical League, rallies other schools to join
Renaissance Public Academy has established an Oregon Junior Classical League, and last month students from the school attended a Latin forum where they encouraged other classical schools to join.
"We have Latin programs in the state," said Renaissance's Latin teacher Rory Murtaugh. "We're just not unified. We kind of don't know about each other."
He added, "I kind of saw an opportunity for us as a school to make a footprint and be a flagship. We are the largest Latin program in the state."
This lead to the establishment of the ORJCL, an affiliate of the National Junior Classical League, which seeks to "encourage an interest in and an appreciation of the language, literature and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and to impart an understanding of the debt of our own culture to that of Classical antiquity." Renaissance has had the only ORJCL chapter, and at the forum, they invited other classical schools to participate.
"That's something that was important to me when I was coming up in Illinois was going to the Illinois JCL, and that's kind of how I fell in love with it, because it was more about the community, not so much the language."
So on Nov. 18, Murtaugh took RPA students Jason Schwartz, ORJCL president, and Lily Goodson, vice president, to the Reed College Latin Forum in Portland. There, Schwartz introduced the newly formed ORJCL.
In his speech to the audience of Latin students and teachers, Schwartz called for cooperation among classical schools and quoted an ancient author.
"Ubi concordia, ibi victoria," Schwartz said, which means "Where there is unity, there is victory."
Schwartz, an RPA senior with advanced Latin ability, also authored the constitution for the league. Murtaugh gave him source material such as other state constitutions and the national constitution, which he used to formulate the ORJCL constitution.
After their presentations at Reed, four other schools showed interest in starting their own ORJCL chapters, and by the end of the academic year, Murtaugh expects there to be six or seven chapters established throughout the state.
"Renaissance Public Academy is excited and honored to welcome the new members of the ORJCL, and looks forward to organizing the upcoming convention with them," Schwartz said.