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Pinecrest brings ancient Rome to classroom
School continues daffodil planting tradition


Pinecrest Academy students recently took a trip back in time to Ancient Rome as part of a themed week of study held at the middle school level.

During the week of Nov. 12, students donned gladiator costumes as their middle school lobby was transformed into an ancient Roman building, complete with “towering pillars and silhouettes of Romans,” said Vivian Heard, spokeswoman for the school.

The week included interactive learning opportunities, with all subjects covering the time period.

“Our students so enjoyed our World War II unit last year that the faculty decided to implement another cross-curricular unit this year,” said Denise Cress, Pinecrest middle school principal. “The learning is so impactful when the entire faculty is teaching in unison on the same unit of study.”

From left, middle school teachers Carter Mayville and Ivair Watte and middle school student council President Zach Novo prepare for gladiator matches.
Heard said religion classes, in particular, focused on the Christian persecution that was prevalent throughout ancient Rome. On Monday, students assembled in the school’s Upper School Gym where they watched a gladiator match between middle school teachers.

“It was exciting to see all the incredibly creative ideas our teachers came up with, including bringing Julius Caesar to life, transforming our lobby into a building from Ancient Rome, and allowing our students to engage in a variety of activities,” Cress said.

On Friday, which was also Grandparents Day, Brook Parks with The Voice of the Martyrs spoke to middle and high school students about modern day persecution and those who have been imprisoned for 10 years or more for practicing their faith.

The Voice of the Martyrs is a nonprofit, interdenominational Christian mission organization “dedicated to serving our persecuted family worldwide through practical and spiritual assistance,” according to its website.

Parks discussed where Christian persecution happens today and why, what scripture has to say about persecution and what people can learn from persecuted believers.

Following the presentation, students, faculty, staff and families gathered in front of the middle school building to plant daffodils as part of The Daffodil Project, an event started by Am Yisrael Chai!, a non-profit Holocaust education and awareness organization.

The Daffodil Project is a worldwide project empowering Holocaust Education and was implemented at Pinecrest last year.

This year and last, students planted hundreds of daffodils, each of which commemorates one of the 1.5 million children who were killed in the Holocaust.

“I find it heartwarming that our middle school committed to this event each year going forward,” Heard said, “And did, indeed plant the Daffodils again, with grandparents and parents watching.”