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Greek Symposium Brings History to Life

The Class II Greek Symposium is a History Department showcase for Winsor’s sixth graders. After studying Athens and Sparta, Class II students examine the Persian Wars, the rise of powerful Greek city-states, and the key figures, battles, and strategies that ultimately led to the defeat of the Persian Empire. The resulting “golden age” of Greece is the backdrop of the Greek Symposium, which has been a Winsor tradition since 2009 and is the brainchild of longtime Winsor History Faculty Josh Contant

Looking at topics such as sports, crime and justice, drama, sculpture, medicine, architecture, mythology and religion, fashion, and greek food and drink, students are placed in small groups of two or three according to their interests. Designed to practice their research and collaboration skills, the project has students utilizing resources from the library such as books, online databases, and websites. Going from research questions to thesis statements, students ultimately design displays that communicate their research in creative and engaging ways. The resulting posters, trivia or board games, slideshows, iMovies, skits, pamphlets, etc. are on display at the Greek Symposium. This year there was even an exercise competition.

The event lends itself to a festive atmosphere where students dress in homemade togas and tables spiral around the Wildcat Room displaying projects of all kinds. Held over a two-hour window, Lower School and Upper School students as well as faculty and staff drop in to peruse the displays. Class II families are invited as well, relishing the opportunity to see interactive History Department coursework firsthand.

“From Jeopardy! to a board game where the goal was to reach the Acropolis, at each station, there was an opportunity to engage in dialogue and education with a Class II expert,” said History Faculty Annie Huntoon who worked with History Faculty Grace Gilmour on this year’s symposium. “It’s a highlight of the year for me, and also for the students,” she added.

Thanks to Chef Heather Pierce, the occasion felt extra special with the addition of Winsor brownies as an exclusive treat for Class II students to enjoy at the end of the symposium. 

Looking ahead, Class II students will encounter the decline of Greece and the rise of the Roman empire, which will consume their history studies for the remainder of the year.