What can students learn from chariot races and ring toss?

Third graders scream with frightened excitement. Tenth graders pull with all their might. And with a final mighty heave, the winning chariot pulls across the finish line in one monumental effort of amazing strength. This is the 3rd Grade Greek Olympics.

The day starts with tenth graders and their third grade buddies teaming up in the gym and preparing to process in their gloriously bedecked chariots through the lower school, the lobby, and finally ending up in the cafeteria to present themselves to “the gods”. The gods, or the twelfth graders in costumes, ask the third graders a series of questions asking them how they prepared for the games ,and why they chose to honor the god or goddess that they did. Here the third graders give answers that show the breadth of knowledge they’ve learned while studying their history unit.

Then, the teams proceed to the gym and perform a series of feats to show the “strength and preparation” they put into training for the games.  Next, the teams head outside for the actual races that the 3rd Grade Greek Olympics is so well-known for. As the finale for the games, all the third, tenth, and twelfth graders enjoy a delicious Greek-style meal. During the feast, the tenth graders put on a skit, also responding to a challenge from the seniors to perform the skit backwards. To conclude the games, laurel wreaths are awarded for the various competitions.

So why does Westminster have the Greek Olympics? The Olympics are a great opportunity to integrate traditional education and real life experiences, to make learning come alive. It is also a good opportunity to create bonds school-wide, as third, tenth, and twelfth graders come together to participate in the event. The in-depth study of Greek culture also highlights which aspects of the Greek life should be imitated by Christians, and where the Greeks failed. Ultimately, the third grade Olympic experience is one that will be fondly remembered by all Westminster students for a lifetime.