When I began teaching Latin at Harrisburg Academy in 2001, I knew that I wanted to go back to the Classics Festival that was run by the Capital Area Classics Association (CACA), if it was still occurring. CACA is an organization of the high school Latin teachers in Southcentral PA, and the event has been happening annually since before I was born. When I was a Latin student at Linglestown Junior High School and Central Dauphin High School in the 1990s, I had the opportunity to compete in the Classics Festival, thus it seems a like a natural progression that these days I am one of the members of the organization, and I was pleased to be able to be a colleague with my former Latin teachers before they retired.
Another great part of this has been bringing students from Harrisburg Academy to the festival. We have come home with a few ribbons from year to year. Last year we won ribbons in three categories, including two first place, but this year, I am proud to say that we won six ribbons! That is great considering we only had 12 students participating.
The festival is a way to celebrate the culture of the ancient Greeks and the Romans by making it all come alive. There are two live performance categories where all the spoken or sung words are in Latin. For example, this year a group performed “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen, and another group performed a skit based on the Scooby-Doo cartoons. There are also many creative categories to compete in like frescoes, sculpture, and pottery. Additionally, there are more academic categories that focus on Latin grammar and vocabulary. This is the area where Harrisburg Academy students traditionally do well. I remember how much fun it was as a young Latin student to have this experience and see all of the projects, performances, and academic competitions on those days, and it has been fun to watch the growth of the program come to fruition in the form of ribbons and to see the students enjoying and learning at the Classics Festival as I did a generation before them.