Honors English 1 students presented their shields to their classes last week.

The body armor worn by warriors in the Iliad was embellished with symbols and images that represented each hero and made each warrior more easily identifiable in battle. The designs were intricate and contained personal symbols that were meaningful to each person.

In a final project after reading the Iliad, each student in Ms. Sims’ Honor I English classes created a shield that uniquely represented his/her world and desired legacy. The shield design, shape, and medium were open to imagination, but the content required each student to use images that symbolized its creator in a special way, identifying his/her family, life lived, ones admired, goals, and how the student wished to be remembered if someone was to review that life 2500 years from now. The shield included a motto or phrase that reflected a belief that the student wished to live by.

The shield that the crippled smith of the gods, Hephaestus, created for Achilles in Book 18 of Iliad was a tribute to Achilles, his world, and how he would be remembered throughout history. It has helped us—readers in the 21st century—to remember and to know who Achilles was. We are still talking about him and his rival Hector, and Homer’s Iliad is close to 2500 years old. The shields of 2021 are personal tributes to the Freshman Honors students who read Homer’s epic and reflected on what is important in each of their lives and the way they, too, want to be remembered. –Patti Sims

Below: Honors English 1 students with their personalized shields.