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APSU celebrates ancient languages with 9th annual Classics Day

Latin is very much a living language on the campus of Austin Peay State University, as Classics at APSU hosted its annual Classics Day event for area high school students.

Latin is very much a living language on the campus of Austin Peay State University, as Classics at APSU hosted its annual Classics Day event for area high school students.

The all-day event brought together a record 221 students from Montgomery County and Sumner County high schools for a day of activities centered on the languages of the ancient world. Gathered at the APSU Morgan University Center, faculty members and current APSU students gave lectures on their studies, and students also participated in craft making and games centered around the classical societies of Greece and Rome.

APSU Classics professor Dr. Tim Winters said this year’s event was the largest in its history, reflecting the rapid growth of Latin studies among area high schools.

“What’s really interesting is that we are at full capacity in the (MUC Ballroom), but this isn’t even all of the students in the area who are interested in classics,” Winters said. “One school in particular, West Creek High School, only took 10-15 (Junior Classical League) students, when they could have taken as many as 40-50 students.”

The event was organized by Eta Omega, the local APSU chapter of the national classics honors society, Eta Sigma Phi.

Beyond academic studies, students were also provided an opportunity to create their own tributes to the style of art of the day. In workshop settings, students created either traditional Roman earrings or coins. The idea to allow students to create their own art was the brainchild of local Eta Sigma Phi chapter president Rebecca Illig.

“I’ve always loved the cultural aspect of Greek and Roman societies, and the kinds of things the women of the day wore, so I wanted to share that (with the students),” Illig, who noted she hopes to become a Latin teacher, said.

Since moving the event to a mid-week date in 2012, Winters said he has seen a great response from the area high school community.

“I’ve been doing (Classics Day) in some form since I arrived at Austin Peay, but for a long time, it was just me running the entire event,” Winters joked. “It was much smaller back in those days, with just 20 or 30 kids on a Saturday afternoon and not the major event it is now.”

Retired longtime classics teachers in Clarksville, Grady and Kaye Warren were honored during Thursday’s event. Over the course of their 40-plus years in education, the husband and wife team taught Latin at two junior high and three high schools in the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, and, in the process, mentored countless students.

Winters noted that the Warrens had touched thousands of lives during their careers in teaching, so a scholarship has been established at Austin Peay to honor their memories.

For more information on Classics at APSU, or to donate to the scholarship established in the Warrens' name, contact Dr. Tim Winters at winterst@apsu.edu.