April 13, 2023

The Department of Classics welcomed the annual Pioneer Valley Classical Association Classics Day to campus on April 13. More than 250 enthusiastic middle and high school students from all over Western Massachusetts filled the campus center for a full day of competitions, performances, workshops, and lectures.

Members of the Department of Classics were involved throughout the day. The UMass MAT students led workshops and acted as a judges for competitions. Prof. Teresa Ramsby sat in on the action and said “It was a delight to see the UMass graduate students leading the Classics Days students in engaging activities. The UMass Classics department loves Classics Day.” A highlight of the morning was an illustrated lecture by UMass Classics Department Prof. Tony Tuck, titled “Holding History in Your Hands,” which introduced the audience to the methods and goals of archaeology. Students got to see and handle a selection of ancient artifacts.

Undergraduate student volunteers from the UMass chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the national Classics collegiate honor society, helped make the day run smoothly. When asked why she was volunteering, Maggie Knapp, president of the UMass Eta Sigma Phi chapter, said “Classics Day is a fantastic way to get middle and high school students interested in Latin, Classics, and the ancient world. I hope they’ll consider going on with their studies in the future.” Prof. Brian Breed noted that “Classics Day is an important way for the Department to support and show our appreciation for the Latin teachers in our area who do so much excellent work to excite students about the study of Latin and Classics. It’s especially great that Classics Day was back in person this year after the pandemic forced the event to be online. I hope to see the event return to campus next year and beyond.” First-year MAT student Isabel Knudson said, “This was my first Classics Day and it was so much fun! I didn’t know what to expect, and the students blew me away with their creativity and excitement about Classics. It was wonderful to see the local community come together and to witness how involved and committed these students are. I can’t wait for next year!”

Classics Day was generously supported by the UMass Amherst Department of Classics and by the Classical Association of New England.