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The Kids are Alright

Jim O'Neil

Technology Evangelist

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The Kids are Alright

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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.

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  • Loved your comment.  Don't forget art and performance in your list of what the kids do.  It is really an amazing array of opportunities.  Is there any other organization the gives kids so many areas in which to excel?  Were there only 1200 kids there, or were you filtering out the Middle Schoolers?  I thought it was around 1500 kids.  

    Thanks for all you do for us each year.  What would we do without you!

  • That's what I get for writing something on little to no sleep... though the 1200 is about right and doesn't include the SCLers and adults, total count was something like 1512.

  • Thanks for reminding me that this really is a special group!  Sometimes I just get lost in the work and forget the magic.

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