Photos: Holy Cross Students Host Classics Day to Share Passion for Ancient World

The student-run event brought 300 local high school students to campus for trivia, contests and a shared love of all things classical
April 9th, 2019 by 

High school students sit on a stage while performing the myth of Persephone and Hades in the costume contest.
High school students perform the myth of Persephone and Hades in the Classics Day costume contest. Photo by Avanell Brock

Three students stand on stage as Cerberus, the hound of Hades
Three students portray Cerberus, the hound of Hades. Photo by Avanell Brock

Two Classics Day participants stand on stage, in togas, while acting out a scene during the costume contest.
Two Classics Day participants act out a scene during the costume contest. Photo by Avanell Brock

Two Holy Cross students look at the stage while laughing
Holy Cross students judge the Classics Day costume contest. Photo by Avanell Brock

A student draws a wooden sword on herself while acting out the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe
A student acts out a scene from the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe. Photo by Avanell Brock

A student laughs while holding an "Applause" sign
A student directs audience members to applaud during her school's costume contest skit. Photo by Avanell Brock

A packed Hogan Ballroom listens to students present during the manuscripts challenge
A packed Hogan Ballroom listens to students present during the manuscripts challenge. Photo by Rebecca Blackwell '16

Two female high school students sit at a table wearing fake beards
Two students in costume await their turn on the Hogan Ballroom stage. Photo by Avanell Brock

A high school student in a red toga and leafy crown laughs while talking to two friends
A high school student talks with friends after the costume contest. Photo by Avanell Brock

A high school student wears an elaborate flower crown
Persephone's flower crown made its way around to multiple students. Photo by Avanell Brock

An ancient-looking clay vessel
A vessel on display for the art contest. Photo by Avanell Brock

Holy Cross classics students stand and judge the art contest
Holy Cross classics students judge the art contest. Photo by Avanell Brock

Young students look at multiple pieces of art on a table
Classics Day participants look at the different pieces of art on display. Photo by Avanell Brock

A Holy Cross student sits on the stage while another stands behind him, holding a baby doll
Holy Cross students perform an excerpt from Liam Prendergast '19's play adapted from the "Iliad." Photo by Avanell Brock

Five high school students stand on stage with a sign and a trophy
Pope Francis Prep School students pose with their second-place Certamen trophy. Photo by Rebecca Blackwell '16

It’s not every day you see a three-headed mythical beast side-stepping its way through the Hogan Campus Center. But that’s par for the course on Classics Day, a College of the Holy Cross tradition celebrating all aspects of ancient Greek and Roman culture.

Holy Cross students welcomed over 300 local high school students to participate in activities such as Certamen (quick-thinking classics trivia), a lively costume contest, an art contest, and a manuscripts challenge, where high school students translate ancient texts and present their findings in front of the crowd. The event, now in its 47th year, is planned fully by Holy Cross students, from coordinating the high schoolers to writing the trivia questions for Certamen.

In the eyes of classics major Hannah Nguyen ’19, a Classics Day committee member and president of the national classics honorary society chapter at Holy Cross, the day isn’t just beneficial for the high school students.

“Classics Day allows both groups of students — Holy Cross and high school — to explore a discipline they enjoy and to share it with one another. The high school students remind us why classics is fun and exciting, and we show them why we have chosen to continue to study it, why it is worth further exploration and how it has made us better people and scholars.”

Neel Smith, associate professor of classics and chair of the department, told the high school students that the study of classics is empowering.

“I often am asked by worried parents or students, ‘What do classics majors do after they graduate from college?’ I could start down the whole list of what our majors do — medical school, financial consulting, law school, computer programming, government service — but if I kept going, I’d burn out my time up here really fast. Classics majors, after they graduate, can do whatever they want. That’s what they’re prepared for — they’re prepared for everything.”

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