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Chesterbrook Goes GRECO

Third grade social studies unit culminates in celebration of ancient cultures.

Last September, when Stephanie Dillman started her first day as a third grade teacher at Chesterbrook Elementary School, she found out that her students had one thing on their mind.

"They've been looking forward to this since the first day of school," said Dillman. "They first day they asked 'are we going to do GRECO Day?' I had just started so I didn't even know what that was."

GRECO stands for Greek Roman Egyptian Chinese and Other cultures. GRECO day is essentially the culmination of the entire third grade social studies unit at Chesterbrook. It has a tradition that has been going on at the school for the past eight years.

"THE FIRST TIME it was just so amazing, and it's just been getting bigger and better ever since," said third grade teacher Susan Scholla.

Chesterbrook's 66 third grade students all participated in this year's GRECO Day, and the parents of all of those students helped out in some way with the event.

"It's totally parent-run," said Scholla. "We start doing the initial planning in the fall, and then we really get going right after spring break."

Students are divided into four groups, and as the day progresses, each group moves from one station to another. Stations include an "archaeological dig," a Tomb Crawl, Greek Olympics, a food tasting room, and various arts and crafts activities.

"I'm most excited about the Tomb Crawl because I've heard a lot of fourth graders talk about it," said Katie Horenstein, 8.

Horenstein was right to be excited about the Tomb Crawl, as students across the board ranked it as their favorite part of GRECO Day.

"We got to find loot and there was a mummy in there," said Desmond Curran, 9.

Using refrigerator boxes, parents constructed a huge maze, hiding various "treasures" throughout. At the end, a parent dressed as a mummy jumped out and scared the students.

"It was kind of scary in the beginning because you could hear people screaming," said Hugo Kessler, 9. "Once one person started screaming, then everyone started screaming."

THE FOOD TASTING ROOM was another popular event. Parents contributed a variety of international treats including baklava, feta cheese, olives and fortune cookies.

"This cheese looks really powdery, but it tastes kind of thick," said Hanna Andrews, 9. "I like it."

Nick Brandon, 9, was also a big fan of the food.

"I wish this was just lunch instead of bringing bag lunches," said Brandon. "I like the beef jerky and the baklava."