The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

March bracketology at LM

In Latin, AP US History, and each of the French classes, students will vote in their own special themed March Madness brackets. In this article read all about this year’s competitions.

With spring in the air and cold winter months in the rearview mirror, the sporting world turns its eyes to college basketball’s annual 64-team bracket: the NCAA March Madness tournament. Considering LM’s strong sports culture, it’s no surprise that some of your favorite teachers are following suit with tournament-style brackets of their own. This March, in Latin teacher Brooke Fireman’s classes, AP US History teacher Chad Henneberry’s classes, and all of the French classes, students will vote in their own uniquely themed brackets. Here’s a short preview of this year’s competitions, starting with the original LM March Madness tournament that will be taking place in Latin classes.

If you’re a fan of Greek mythology and Roman history, you’d love Fireman’s take on The Big Dance. Martia Dementia, literally “march madness” in Latin, is a fight to the death between 64 of the most prominent figures in Greek mythology and Roman history that concludes with the crowning of a single surviving champion. Each contestant falls under one of four main categories, separated into regions within the bracket: Heroes, Creatures, “in Historia”, and “the Ladies”. After filling in their bracket predictions, students vote for their favorite characters, influencing the likelihood of their pick moving on to the next round. The stakes are high, according to Fireman, who fully embraces the friendly competition, calling it “one of the things about the competition I love most.” She also enjoys the timely nature of the tournament, observing that “the month of March can be a long one, and in a lot of years there’s not a single day off.” Fortunately for Latin students, Martia Dementia serves as an exciting break from a normal day of class.

Maybe you prefer US history over Roman history. If so, Henneberry’s Muckraker Madness bracket challenge is just what you’re looking for. Starting in late February, you’ll find Henneberry’s AP US History students beginning their unit on the Progressive Era. As their first assignment, students are paired up and challenged to research some of the most influential reformers of the Progressive Era, called muckrakers. First, a draft is held to determine which pairs get to research what muckraker. After their research, each pair of students matches up against another pair to compete in the Muckraker Madness bracket challenge. Henneberry describes it as “a way to infuse some fun into the late winter months incorporating research, technology, poetry, and even interpretive dance and rap battles.” The four rounds of tournament play consist of creating a podcast, haiku, an interpretive dance, and a rap battle finale that combines different elements of the muckrakers’ work. Rumor has it that the last round will be performed live in the LGI during Lunch and Learn, so keep an eye out for
an email inviting you to witness performing arts greatness.

Beyond History and Latin, the LM French department has got you covered with their own March Madness tournament: La Manie Musicale. In English, La Manie Musicale means “musical mania,” a perfect title for this creative adaptation of a bracket-style challenge. Each day, the French teachers post a new music video on their Blackboard, and students can vote for their favorites. The videos represent different countries from around the world and combine a mixture of genres to provide students with a multicultural viewing experience. Julia Schrader comments, “The students like it because March is a long month, and they get to watch some fun videos. It’s a really nice way to start class.” La Manie Musicale is another example of teachers transforming a boring curriculum into an engaging learning opportunity.

Whether you like Roman history or US history, rap or an assortment of genres, LM offers a different version of the March Madness bracket challenge for everyone of all interests. The best way to make these competitions as enjoyable as possible is through complete participation—so if you’re in one of these three classes, be sure to take advantage. If you’re not in any of these classes, don’t worry, the NCAA March Madness tournament is right around the corner, beginning with the First Four games on Tuesday, March 14. Just don’t get your hopes up for a perfect bracket because, for both Martia Dementia and the NCAA tournament, your odds at perfection are only one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 (nine quintillion).

Graphic by Eliza Liebo ’25/Staff

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