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... or "what I did on summer vacation."
Did you know that "evangelist" comes from the ancient Greek eu (good) and angelos (messenger)? I did, via my affiliation (for some 30+ years) with the National Junior Classical League. And that affiliation has led to my trip this week to Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond for the 58th annual NJCL Convention (and my 33rd). Though the topic of ancient civilizations and languages seems quite removed from my day job, there's a common thread of passion and dedication to a craft or a field of study. In this case, the passion is generated by over 1200 secondary school students and some 300 teachers and chaperones from 35 states and Ontario, who gather together for six 18-hour days filled with academic competitions, oratory, dances, karaoke, track-and-field and swimming events, colloquia, and occasionally a bit of sleep.
For the uninitiatied it's difficult to understand or appreciate, but for those that have been part of this organization it in turn becomes part of them. It's obviously a community of a different sort from the software developer groups I interact with, but the shared enthusiasm for learning and discovery is a common factor driving them all. Among these kids here this week are the next decade's entrepreneurs, researchers, and teachers - I know we're in good hands, and I'm thrilled to be a part of their evolution.