Classics Day Immerses Wildcats in Ancient Cultures

Rob Champigny '18 with another great leader, Augustus
Rob Champigny ’18 with another great leader, Augustus

Classics Day brings together students of Latin from around the Pioneer Valley who, for one day, immerse themselves in the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. The annual event is organized and hosted by the Pioneer Valley Classics Association and held at Mount Holyoke College in nearby South Hadley, Massachusetts.

On January 20, Williston students were among 341 attendees at the event. Classics Day spurred student imaginations and inspired Wildcats to spend hours working on projects that were rewarded with 10 prizes. A remarkable example: One student, Gabe Moon ’18, taught himself metal working so he could create a prize-winning replica of a Roman helmet.

Gabe Moon '18 taught himself metal working to create this prize-winning Roman helmet.
Gabe Moon ’18 taught himself metal working to create this prize-winning Roman helmet.

In addition to competing and attending workshops on Roman games, gladiators, curse tablets and coins, among other topics, students toured the collection of Roman daily life objects in the Mount Holyoke College Museum and had the chance to examine 2000-year-old coins first hand with the curators.

Students won prizes in every category they entered: art (models, military, drawing, sculpture), certamen (Latin “quiz bowl”), and oral recitation (Greek poetry and advanced level prose). Here are the winners:

  • Honors Latin II (Oscar DeFrancis ’20, Julia Farnham ’20, Dylan Fulcher-Melendy ’20, Nat Markey ’20):
    • first place, Latin II certamen
    • third place, myth certamen
  • Julia Farnham, second place drawing
  • Dylan Fulcher-Melendy, third place model
  • Jason Albanese ’20 and Eric Albanese ’20, first place model
  • Lauren Solzak ’20, third place military
  • Gabe Moon, first place military
  • Kevin O’Sullivan ’18, third place advanced oral interpretation (prose)
  • Anabelle Farnham ’18, second place Greek oral interpretation
  • Jimin Lee ’20, third place sculpture
Students inspect 2000-year-old coins.
Students inspect 2000-year-old coins.

“Classics Day is a wonderful opportunity for our students to join a wider community of young Classicists in a grand celebration of Latin and the ancient world,” said Beatrice Cody, Latin teacher and head of the Language Department.

She continued: “Classics Day allows our students to show off the skills and knowledge they’ve acquired during their study of Latin. For example, our Level II certamen team won first-place in their competition with the knowledge they’ve amassed about Latin vocabulary, grammar, history, culture and myth. It also allows our students to explore more deeply an area of interest, and to showcase their wide-ranging talents. Anabelle Farnham, for example, has been studying Greek for the past three years and had the opportunity to demonstrate her

The quiz-bowl team blows off some steam.
The quiz-bowl team blows off some steam.

powerful memory and oratorical skill by reciting a Greek passage. For their three-tiered first prize model, Eric and Jason Albanese were able to revisit and explore the powerful symbolism of some myths they enjoyed studying in Latin class. Gabe Moon taught himself metal-working and created a first-prize Roman helmet from items in his kitchen—a mixing bowl and broom bristles. New students entered the contest for the first time—Jimin Lee and Lauren Solzak—and won prizes with their impressive artistic skill and careful study of ancient artistic iconography and design. It is so rewarding for our Latin students (and their teachers!) to be given this opportunity for creativity and excellence—and we couldn’t be prouder of them all for their heartfelt participation today.”

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