Hamden Hall Latin students have been participating in Latin Day for decades – so while this year’s event may not have included 1,500 of their peers from other school systems, it did indeed involve events, contests, and a parade of Lumpies!
Hosted annually by The Classical Association of Connecticut at Holiday Hill in Cheshire, Latin Day is a “special treat” that students look forward to, according to longtime Hamden Hall Latin teacher Stephanie Spaulding. When she and fellow Latin teacher Alison Orlebeke learned that the event was canceled, they immediately joined virtual forces and planned a 2020 Hamden Hall Latin Day to be remembered.
“We put our heads together and came up with a plan to give the kids all the best of Latin Day: fun, contests, a chance to show off their projects, and even make Lumpies! The truth is that we know this spring was hard for the kids. We wanted to do whatever we could to give them something special and fun,” said Ms. Spaulding.
Via Zoom, Middle and Upper School Latin students were able to participate. Each Latin class contributed to the event’s content: Latin A created a Kahoot game; Latin B created movie trailers; Latin 2 recorded videos of themselves reciting a passage of Latin; Latin 3 created a mythology Kahoot contest; and Latin IV gave brief presentations. Junior Aidan Armstrong, who plans to do a summer study to practice speaking and communicating in Latin, composed and performed an original Latin poem.
All seniors were recognized with special tribute awards by Ms. Orlebeke and her husband, Yale University Classics and History Professor Noel Lenski.
A special video message from "famous Latin teacher" Magister Craft also added to the event. He congratulated students for another “fine” year of studying Latin and advised them to “exercise” their Latin over the summer.
“All my students love Magister Craft's YouTube channel. You could say they are super-fans. When we decided to have Hamden Hall Latin Day, I contacted him to ask him to record a message for our students. When I played it at Latin Day, I could see their mouths hang open! That was a very exciting moment for me,” maintained Ms. Spaulding.
Former Latin teacher Sara Morris, who retired in 2016 after 37 years under the pines, was able to join in on the virtual fun along with her husband, Ian. The graduating seniors are the last of the current students who had Mrs. Morris as a teacher.
Ms. Spaulding said she had not heard of other schools hosting a virtual Latin Day. Also a “first-ever” was the parade of Lumpies. She explained that “Lumpies are a long-standing (and somewhat silly) tradition at State Latin Day. They are little sculptures made out of salt-flour dough. Originally they were supposed to look like actual Romans, but the kids get creative and make all kinds of creatures. The Latin language connection is that they hold a sign in Latin. We knew we had to incorporate this tradition into our Hamden Hall Latin Day.”