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GROTON — It’s traditional to end the school year with a field day. But sixth-grade students at Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School held a Greek Olympic Day instead.

In class, the students studied ancient civilization, including the first Olympics. The curriculum is part of the state standard for sixth-grade students.

Three years ago, sixth-grade teachers came up with the idea to designate each homeroom as an ancient “city-state” and to hold their own Olympics. The goal was to foster healthy competition by participating in various events and activities such as relay races, an egg toss and a long-distance golf-drive contest.

After voting on a Greek name to represent an ancient “city-state,” each homeroom created a flag to represent them. The Olympics began with students parading around the outdoor track holding colorful flags and banners. They made traditional Greek clothing called Kyton (pronounced chi-ton) from sheets and using leaves from nearby shrubs, made olive wreaths to wear on their heads. Students carved Greek columns from bars of white soap and made masks to represent Greek drama. Special-needs teacher Mary Abodeely prepared Greek food such as salad, pita bread, rice pudding and cookies for students.

Dance played an important role in the life of ancient Greeks. Today, traditional dances are still passed from generation to generation.

“Opa!” shouted Joseph Graziosi as he snapped his fingers, teaching a traditional Greek dance to students. His visit was made possible by a grant from the Groton Trust Fund’s Lecture Fund.

Greek Olympic Day closed with a presentation of awards for the individual events and the best homeroom “city-state.”

According to sixth-grade teacher, Brenda Hoag, the day was a huge success.

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