High school students perform short, classical skits for the costume contest. Photo by Tom Rettig
High school students watch their peers from high schools across New England perform during the costume contest. Photo by Tom Rettig
Judges Richard Ciolek ‘20 and Julia Spiegel ’19 laugh along with the audience during the costume contest. Photo by Tom Rettig
A student from Holyoke High School is dressed as Marcus Aurelius for the costume contest. Photo by Tom Rettig
Nolan McGovern, a student from St. Sebastian's School, uses dry ice to represent the gas that rose from beneath the Oracle at Delphi’s tripod during the art contest. Photo by Tom Rettig
Timothy Joseph, associate professor of classics and chair of the department, and Toni Methe, administrative assistant for the department, welcome students during registration. Methe will be retiring this academic year after coordinating Classics Day for more than 25 years. Photo by Tom Rettig
“Salvete, omnes! Ad Collegium Sanctae Crucis vos excipimus!” said Timothy Joseph, associate professor of classics and chair of the department, greeting 400 eager high school students that filled the Hogan Ballroom at the 45th annual Classics Day at Holy Cross last week.
Joseph’s Latin welcome, meaning “Hello all! We welcome you to the College of the Holy Cross” in modern English, was met with excited chuckles as students and teachers from more than 20 New England high schools anticipated a day filled with all things ancient Greek and Roman.
Run by 21 student volunteers from Holy Cross’ chapter of the national classics honors society Eta Sigma Phi, the event featured certamen, or “trivia,” where students competed to see who knew more about Latin grammar, Roman and Greek mythology, and Roman history and life; the ever popular classically-themed costume contest; a new art contest featuring student-created mosaics, sculptures, and paintings; and the Manuscript Challenge competition, which asked students to transcribe, translate, and analyze an ancient manuscript.
Classics Day chair Michael Kelley ’18 was especially impressed with the art contest submissions.
“This year’s theme was ‘Prophecy’ so we were flooded with artwork depicting the many prophecies that drove Greek tragedy,” says Kelley. “Perhaps the most creative entry came from Nolan McGovern, a student from St. Sebastian’s School, who used dry ice to represent the eerie — and perhaps intoxicating — gas that famously rose from beneath the Oracle’s tripod, shrouding Nolan’s realistic marble busts.”
From the toga-wearing Marcus Aurelius and Zeus impersonators to manuscript analyses of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” students had fun with their love of the classical world and also learned what it means to be a classics major at Holy Cross.
“Not only are students able to interact with classics students from other high schools, but they also get to see college students who are passionate about the subject running the event,” says Melody Wauke ‘17, president of Eta Sigma Phi at the College. “I hope that the students see that the classics are still relevant and exciting, especially here at Holy Cross!”
For Toni Methe, the classics department administrative assistant who will retire this year after coordinating this event since 1990, Classics Day is particularly special because it brings back familiar faces.
“A lot of alumni, who I knew as students and have become teachers, now come back to Holy Cross with their own students for Classics Day,” says Methe, who notes there were at least seven alumni-turned-teachers in attendance this year.
Methe was honored for her dedication to Classics Day during the day’s events.
“Without Toni, this great event would not have been possible for the thousands and thousands of classics students who have enjoyed it over the years,” says Joseph. “Toni is the brains behind the great tradition of Classics Day!”
Telegram & Gazette, April 7: Classics with a modern twist
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