Latin lovers flock to Missouri for national convention
ALAN SCHER ZAGIER
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Latin, the dead tongue? Hardly.
Just ask members of the National Junior Classical League, which for more than 50 years has preached a love of the classical language among American teens and their teachers. The league now has 50,000 members nationwide, nearly 2,000 of whom gathered this week on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus for an intense spell of academic competitions, pep rallies, mythology-themed costume pageants and Olympic-inspired athletic contests.
Alvin Duggan, a 68-year-old retired Lutheran pastor from Eden, Minn., took the frenetic scene in stride. As the first NJCL president in 1953-54, he presided over a group that numbered just over 100 students.
"Latin is alive and well," he said. "Classics are anything but dead."
Duggan went on to study Hebrew and Aramaic in the seminary, a scholarly asset he regularly relied upon when crafting weekly sermons.
"Understanding these ancient languages gives you a concept of where we've come from - and where we could go if we understood where we came from," he said.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
LATIN IS ALIVE AND WELL, and Aramaic isn't doing too badly either: