District-wide food policy dampens Valentine’s tradition

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District-wide food policy dampens Valentine’s tradition

Juniors Mitchell Norman and Natan Shrpingman sell livergrams during second lunch. The paper livers are sold for $1, and feature Latin phrases related to the holiday. “In ancient Rome they thought love came from the liver, and so we’re playing off that instead of a traditional heart,” Shrpingman said.

Juniors Mitchell Norman and Natan Shrpingman sell livergrams during second lunch. The paper livers are sold for $1, and feature Latin phrases related to the holiday. “In ancient Rome they thought love came from the liver, and so we’re playing off that instead of a traditional heart,” Shrpingman said.

Chris Narishkin

Juniors Mitchell Norman and Natan Shrpingman sell livergrams during second lunch. The paper livers are sold for $1, and feature Latin phrases related to the holiday. “In ancient Rome they thought love came from the liver, and so we’re playing off that instead of a traditional heart,” Shrpingman said.

Chris Narishkin

Chris Narishkin

Juniors Mitchell Norman and Natan Shrpingman sell livergrams during second lunch. The paper livers are sold for $1, and feature Latin phrases related to the holiday. “In ancient Rome they thought love came from the liver, and so we’re playing off that instead of a traditional heart,” Shrpingman said.

Dani Fischer, Staff Writer

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Besides the traditional chocolates, cards and flowers, another tradition west students associate with Valentine’s day is receiving liver-shaped candy grams with chocolate attached.

“I inherited this idea from the Latin teacher before me,” Latin teacher Tom Herpel said. “When I had first started working here Latin Club had been disbanded, but we brought it back three years later. So we’ve been doing livergrams for seven years while I’ve been here, and longer before that.”

The livergrams are traditionally available for purchase the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, and on then the day of the holiday, Latin 4 and 5 students deliver the liver cards with Latin messages to classrooms.

“We used the idea that the Romans believed of love coming from your liver as the basis for this. Other groups sell hearts and candy and that kind of thing, but we thought it would be fun to use Roman culture to kind of weird people out, and at the same time be able to use Latin in a modern setting,” Herpel said.

The students decide which Latin phrases to write on the livers, as well as who they want the liver to go to

“[Romans] also thought that black livers were cursed, so if you want to ‘curse’ another student you have the option of sending them a black liver instead of the love-associate brown liver, if you so choose,” Latin Club member and junior Natan Shrpingman said.

Traditionally, the livergrams are delivered to the students in classes along with a tiny piece of candy, but because of Parkway’s no-sharing food policy, the livergrams will be candy-free this year.

“On the first day we sold them, we sold only one. I don’t know how much of that is because we can’t have candy on them,” Herpel said. “However, we’re going to the dollar store and getting a bunch of plastic valentines toys and such. Who knows, maybe it’ll be even better than the candy.”

Some students are not satisfied with toys being substituted for candy, and are reconsidering their traditions of buying livergrams for loved ones.

“I have bought a livergram before, and I’ve also gotten some. I was super excited when I got one, it made my whole day,” senior Caitlyn Sapienza said. “But I won’t buy one this year. Candy is half the fun of them, and I probably won’t buy them without.”

Other students, however, are not letting the lack of candy get in the way of buying livergrams and are even buying them in bulk.

“Somebody bought 12 for the same person; they all say ‘will you be mine.’ Those are always fun to hand out because you hand them a huge stack, and people always wonder what to do with them,” senior Sophie Wojdylo said.

Even if students are disheartened with the district’s food policy getting in the way of traditions, Shpringman implores it’s important to remember that the money goes towards a good cause.

“The money from selling them goes towards Latin Club for our club shirts. The price of the shirts goes down with the amount of livergrams we sell,” Shpringman said. “Every year we edit Herpel’s face onto an ancient Roman statue, and every single year it has been incredibly disturbing. It’s iconic.”

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