Each year, Boston Prep students, teachers, and alumni come together to celebrate Saturnalia, an ancient Roman festival. Saturnalia suspended Roman social norms, bringing together people from all walks of life - wealthy and peasants alike - in communal celebration. With no barriers between groups, Romans took a holiday from work and school to together enjoy carnival games, give gifts, and feast at a public banquet.
In similar style, members of the Boston Prep community come together annually to celebrate Saturnalia on the last day of school before winter vacation. The day features a potluck feast, a Latin knowledge competition, student performances, and alumni panel discussions. Students and teachers alike look forward to Saturnalia each year, particularly with the excitement of the return of our alumni. Highlights of this year's Saturnalia celebration included original drama performances and invaluable advice from alumni for current students.
To rousing praise, Boston Prep's middle school and high school drama clubs each put on original performances of self-authored plays as a central part of the Saturnalia celebration. Over the course of three months of weekly after school meetings, both groups collaboratively penned their own scripts, each historical in nature. The middle school play shared the story of Romulus and Remus, the twin brothers who founded Rome. The high school play, titled Epilogue of Epics, focused on the history of Hercules and the ancient Greeks. Impressively, over half of the drama participants are entirely new to acting and were performing in front of others for the first time in their lives. Despite many of the performers' lack of experience, the plays were polished, engaging, and memorable.
As a result of Boston Prep's unique alumni support program, The Persistence Project, alumni remain a central, engaged part of the Boston Prep community. As such, alumni return en masse to Boston Prep to join in the important community celebration of Saturnalia. During alumni panel discussions, our graduates spend an hour speaking with small groups of students, sharing their college experiences, lessons learned, and advice. Given that many Boston Prep students do not have family members who have been to college, this rare opportunity to hear the insights of college-going people is invaluable. This year, our alumni once again brought their best stories and passionate advice, in hopes of inspiring those who follow them.
"The teachers at Boston Prep are here to help you. You don't have to try to do everything on your own. Accept their help and make the most of it. Build your foundation now, so that you have what it takes to be more independent in the future when you have to be."
"In college, time management is key. You don't have time to mess around. There is no such thing as 'late;' you have to turn things in on time. If you're struggling to turn things in on time now, work to change that. Talk to your advisor. Ask for advice on how to improve. Set goals for yourself. And remember not to follow the crowd."
"Colleges will see if you're striving to improve or not. Accept challenges. Do your work. Be organized. Don't ever give up. Give teachers something to write about in their letters of recommendation."
"Boston Prep helps instill a sense of urgency in students. When you go to college, you'll be able to meet deadlines. You'll know how to get your work done. This, in turn, will help you get good grades. I've seen most of my peers struggle with this sense of urgency, and I'm so thankful Boston Prep helped develop that in me."
"Remember to respect everyone. You never know how someone can help you along your path."
As the ancient Romans intended, Boston Prep's annual Saturnalia celebration proved once again to be a day characterized by celebration of the powerful community we are together - students, teachers, and alumni.