Clubs & Classes: JCL Initiation 2020

Neha Sunkara '21, Food and Wellness Editor

“According to tradition, becoming a member of the JCL begins with a symbolic initiation ceremony… The so-called ‘dead language’ is brought to life as it helps students understand the world today… The heat of the fire fills the air and the smell of incense fills the air.” This is an excerpt from the 2011 issue of Quid Novi? or in translation, What’s New?, a newsletter created by the Junior Classical League (JCL). The excerpt describes the first JCL tradition of initiation that took place in 2010.

On a dark and rainy Friday the 13th in 2020, fifteen JCL members gathered socially distanced around a fire in the parking lot at Montrose. As the initiates stood nervously around the fire wondering what they were even doing, the JCL initiation began. However, I cannot tell you any more because the Initiation is a secret process that only initiated JCL members know. I have already told you too much about the fire. 

Twelve girls were initiated this year: Caroline Reichard ’21, Katherine Keefe ’21, Faith Chen ’22, Tess Farr ’22, Ana Fernandez del Castillo ’22, Caroline Shannahan ’23, Eliza Glaeser ’24, Hansini Gundavarapu ’24, Isabela Pap ’24, Kristina Klauzinski ’24, Gabriella Dansereau ’26, and Emmeline Liberge ’27. Congratulations to all these girls!

After the ritual of the initiation, all the members gathered inside the A&A (Arts & Athletics building) to enjoy eating pizza while watching the classic Disney movie Hercules. Mari Kouyoumjian ’22, a leader in the Triumvirate, also created a contest for the members to see who could name the most number of mythological inaccuracies in Hercules. Eliza Glaesar’24 won and received a golden apple!

JCL’s faculty advisor Mrs Demirjian, reflected on the 2020 initiation: “It was gratifying to see a dozen new members, from grades 6-12, officially join the Junior Classical League this year.  The initiation ceremony is unique (to say the least!), and I hope a good time was had by all. This year’s triumvirate leadership did a great job organizing the event, and I look forward to our new members bringing their talents and enthusiasm to the group.” Caroline Reichard ’21, one of the initiatees and one of the Triumvirate leaders, said that the JCL initiation “was a great way to connect with other members of JCL and it was really a bonding experience. Also I felt that it allowed us as classics enthusiasts to have some Latin-related fun. It was also really great to watch Hercules, and Mari’s idea of having us point out everything that the movie misrepresented was very fun (and a great learning experience)!” Mari ’22 said: “JCL initiation was extremely fun and high energy. Every minute of it felt intense, real and amazing, it was almost like being on an adrenaline rush the whole night. To sum it up in one word it was: fun.”

If you want to join JCL for a lot of Latin jokes, some fun competitive Roman trivia, and to experience initiation for yourself, we are always open to new members. Contact,,, or


Neha Sunkara ’21 Food and Wellness Editor