Julius Caesar might not have recognized Toga Day as practiced yesterday by the students of Columbia Independent School.
Latin students paraded in a rainbow of homemade costumes. Some went for the gold-trimmed imperial look, while others were draped in rainbow stripes and even fabric designed with cartoon character images from "Scooby Doo."
Their march down Broadway could be called "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Harpo’s," where the group ate lunch.
Toga Day is a tradition at CIS, where all students in grades six through eight are required to take Latin.
Older students can take advanced placement Latin classes to earn college credit. They study the language, culture and history of ancient Rome, emphasizing connections to the present.
Latin teacher Sue Ann Moore wants them to see that "Latin is not a dead language."
After the parade, they returned to campus to perform skits with Greco-Roman themes for students and parents.
One class reported the news from Rome, complete with sensational chariot accidents, gladiators, ads for Medusa Hair Spray and a lottery with winning numbers in Roman numerals.
The skits played with familiar television themes. "Survivors in Hades" had to figure out how to cross the River Styx. Goddesses Athena, Hera and Aphrodite competed on "Judgment of Paris Jeopardy." They relocated "Gilligan’s Island" to "Didonia’s Island," named for the queen of Carthage. "Scubi Du," the Latin equivalent of "Scooby Doo," solved "The Mystery of Great Caesar’s Ghost."
The performances in "Beep My Chariot" drew big laughs. The slightly sanitized title parodies MTV’s car makeover show, "Pimp My Ride," which turns rust-buckets into dream cars. In this case, a young man won an overhaul of his 2-horsepower chariot of 22 BC so he could roll down Rome’s Via Appia in style.
Sam Roland, 14, said studying Latin is useful.
"It helps with other languages, like French and Spanish," he said.
"Toga Day is always something to look forward to," Roland said. "It’s just all about fun."