Head of Middle School Susan Palmer writes about the Greek Day, an annual learning event for fifth-graders.
Everyone remembers who they were in the Greek Play. Carrie Palmer ’06 was Athena, carried a stuffed owl, and wore her mom’s gold jewelry. Seventh grade English teacher Jeffrey Boyd ’06 was a narrator and provided background for the antics of the residents of Olympus. In 2013, Fifth Grade Greek Day continues as a learning tradition like none other, and the vivid world of the gods and goddesses continues to captivate fifth graders today in new and compelling ways.
Greek Day, celebrated just last week, begins with The Spirit of Olympus, complete with fifth grade actors in homemade costumes who inhabit the characters of the many gods and goddesses. Sprinkled with original dance moves, contemporary music, and realistic props, the students make the play their own. The lines for each character were originally written by retired fifth grade Literature teacher Joan McDole, who was present on Friday, but the interpretation is unique to each class and to each actor. The play was followed by a procession throughout campus, time in the Star Lab spent tracking the constellations, a delicious Greek feast, and a highly competitive Greek Quiz Bowl.
Down the fifth grade hall, original myths were posted on lockers for all to read. Sets for the play, lighting, and sound were all student-created and student-managed. The program for the day was created by students, and the Quiz Bowl Committee worked on logistics. Behind the scenes, of course, is the fifth grade team of advisors who worked to set up learning experiences for every student, keeping in mind how many lessons can be learned from working together, sharing ideas, developing characters, taking responsibility, and meeting deadlines. It was truly a day for the fifth grade to shine.
That’s why each year’s memory of Greek Day is different, because each class stamps the event with their own unique personality. Not merely a showcase of how much students have learned about gods, goddesses, and myths, Greek Day rather demonstrates an important moment in the learning life of the fifth grade. Greek Day is not a culmination; it’s a step along a developmental journey. The Class of 2020 will surely remember all of the details of the day well into adulthood, but they may not know just how much they learned by being a part of this enduring tradition.