OctHomerFest celebrates classical education at SJ

Parker Biehle ’23

In an OctHomerFest celebration, Mr. Bill White’s students united to carry on the three millennia-old tradition of reading the Odyssey. On Tuesday, October 18th, stationed outside Agee Hall, the Odyssey was read aloud from 8 am to 3 pm. 

About 125 students participated, mainly from Latin and Mythology classes, but also interested students walking by, and even teachers such as Mr. McNeil, Mr. Romano, and Mrs. Kowalski. 

This tradition of reading the Odyssey continuously began from Mr. White’s time at Baylor but has since become a staple of a classical education here at Strake Jesuit. The event allows Mr. White’s students to experience how the ancient epic was originally meant to be consumed–spoken aloud, not read silently off paper. Furthermore, it allows each student passing by to experience a new culture and from this classical tradition–and a passion for it.

Adorned in a purple Greek chiton and a laurel-wreath “rhapsodos” hat, the speakers managed to make it a quarter-way through the poem–a new record in the school’s seven years of running the event. An astounding success, this OctHomerFest traditional celebration continues to be a shining example of character, culture, and community.

“I’m so happy that OctHomerFest has grown into a beloved tradition here at SJ over the past decade that draws not just Latin students, but all members of the school for a day to celebrate classics.,” Mr. White said. :Students reading Homer goes back to the very first days of Jesuit schools, and two thousand years further back than even that. History stretches back to the beginning of humanity, but it only goes one generation into the future at a time, and we’re keeping it alive here at our school in every kid.”