Students prepare for annual Latin Forum

Amanda Weston

     On April 30 ancient Roman gladiators and German soldiers will wage an epic battle and fight for honor in the courtyard during lunch. These warriors are students of the Latin and German departments who will be wearing handmade togas and weapons. Meanwhile, students watching the war can enjoy food and shops and experience Roman culture.

     The annual Latin Forum features a re-enactment of a certain Roman period, costumes, skits, food and shops. All Latin students are involved as soldiers, senators, slaves, gladiators and more. Students choreograph battles, make costumes and props, arrange events and perform in the battles themselves. This year will feature a re-enactment of the ancient battle of the Lost Eagles of Varus.

     The Latin Forum began with a limited number of students competing, but now that the forum is a school event any number of students can be involved and share what they’ve learned with faculty and classmates. The Latin Club and classes began planning the forum in August. Organizing the event is a largely student run production involving nearly 150 students who volunteer to be a part of the event.

     “[I’m participating in the forum] because I’m in Latin Club who’s in charge of planning and making sure it happens.” Leanna Gaddy, junior and Latin III student, said. “I’m excited about seeing how it comes together, seeing the students’ response and showing what we’ve learned.”

     Gaddy says that members research the theme, assign roles, and plan costumes, food and props Mondays at Latin Club meetings.

     Although the forum is student run, Latin teacher Melody McCormick plays a significant role in its planning, mentoring students and helping them with props, scenery and other aspects of the forum.

     “Just pulling it together makes it special,” McCormick said. “It’s completely voluntary and everything is student-made. It’s really an interactive theatrical production.”

     This year the Latin department plans to construct a forest for the battle and incorporate students from German classes. Students were inspired to choose the battle of Varus by archeological discoveries of the battle site in Kalkriese, Germany in 1987 and 1989. They were also inspired by class projects, curriculum and Roman culture. Latin students plan to set up Christmas trees in the courtyard to create a forest and stage a colossal war between the Romans and Germans.

     “[The forum] shows a lot of culture,” Shareen Ahmad, junior and Latin III student, said. “Unlike other languages, we don’t really speak Latin. This way we can express cultural life in Rome. I’m excited for the day of the forum and getting everything set up. We make costumes, get soldiers to come and practice and arrange roles. Everybody should come out and enjoy the forum.”

     The forum is free to all students and faculty and will take place on April 30 in the CPHS courtyard during all lunches.

     “I encourage people to come and enjoy, experience and interact with [Roman culture].” McCormick said. “Come play with this last TAKS day.”