When he came to North Cross School in the fall of 1998, Victor Lamas wanted to find a way to make his history lessons come alive for his first group of fifth grade students. His first class, the Class of 2012 (in top photo) took to the grass outside Ellis Hall, dressed as soldiers, and marched in formation. His goal was to let students actually feel what it was like to be a soldier. “I marched them as Greek soldiers with their spears and swords,” he said. “I wanted them to feel what it’s like to swing a sword, lower a spear, or have a shield in your hand. It makes for a memorable experience outside the classroom.”
When asked what motived him to try this approach with his students, Victor said he was inspired by the freedom he received in the classroom. “I was given so much freedom to try things, so a lot of my ideas began by asking ‘Wouldn't it be cool if...’” His ideas continued to grow and develop each year.
A few years later he turned that marching into the full-fledged themed performance we enjoy today. “I wondered if I could have the students simulate a battle and not get hurt, but also have it look real.” With the Class of 2015, Victor had the students act out the Romans versus Celts, featuring the tortoise formation and shield wall. Other themes have included Vikings, the Trojan War, and the revolt of Spartacus.
As the performances have grown, Victor has asked parents and other students on campus to help add elements to the performance. “One year Mr. Martin Pruitt (father of Meagan ’16 andChester ’18) built us a Trojan horse.” Another year a parent built a trebuchet.
While the students enjoy practicing, the performances are not meant to glorify battle. They do provide a chance for students to perform. “When you take a look at the girls this year, doing the opening games of the Colosseum, they are into it because it is a performance,” he said.
Click here, or on the image, to view a pdf of a newspaper article about the re-enactment in 2012.