JCDS students bring Ancient Greece back to life


Students at Jacksonville Country Day School (JCDS) recently competed in field games such as relays and tug of war as part of the school’s Greek Olympics.

For over 20 years, the event has been a signature tradition for sixth grade students at the school, helping them retain information that was taught in the classroom, as well as promoting healthy activity and teamwork.

The Greek Olympics are just one part of the culminating experience for the sixth-grade study of Ancient Greece. This year, students also learned Greek dancing, in addition to the traditional “Gods and Goddesses” feast of Greek food that featured food made by parents.

“JCDS families are the best,” said sixth grade lead teacher Nancy Hockenbery. “They share their rich culture, including food, stories and even dancing. This helps to bring the experiences alive for our students. We also had a debate between ‘Athens’ and ‘Sparta,’ which was a new activity this year.”

The culminating day for the students’ study of Ancient Greece brings the events that happened so long ago to life.

“Music, theater, art, philosophy, architecture, the sciences and math can all be traced to Ancient Greece, which was also the birthplace of democracy,” Hockenbery added.

The students have been studying Ancient Greece throughout the school year from a variety of angles, including art, language arts, physical education and even in the library and lunchroom.

“The requirement to dress in authentic costumes, coupled with the physical activities, is appealing to sixth graders and makes learning fun,” said Head of School Pat Walker. “The Greek Olympics are a much-loved tradition at JCDS and another example of the creative ways teachers engage students to optimize learning.”