Stuyvesant Conservators Club Saves Ancient Roman Shoes

Stuyvesant Conservators Club
Photo by Mika Simoncelli

The Conservators Club, a club headed by junior Gloria Ghita, held a ceremony on Wednesday, March 22, in recognition of the club’s successful efforts to save two ancient Roman shoes. This ceremony was held in Interim Acting Principal Eric Contreras’s office and was attended by the members of The Conservators Club, Italian teacher Pasqua Rocchio, who is the club’s advisor, and Contreras.

The shoes are part of a larger discovery of 421 Roman shoes at an archaeological dig last year in Vindolanda, which is in Northern England near Hadrian’s Wall. Each shoe costs approximately $111 to preserve. The shoes date back to approximately 212 C.E. and give historians more information as to how the Romans lived.

Inspired by Rocchio, the club was first founded in November 2015. “The club started out of my AP Italian class over a handout that I gave to the students that talked about art preservation in Italy. One of the students was inspired and decided to start a conservation club,” Rocchio said.  

The Conservators Club’s mission is to preserve various cultures and cultural artifacts. “[Preserving culture and artifacts] is very important because today’s society is based on the foundation of what came before us,” Ghita said.

A second goal of the club is for Stuyvesant students to become more aware of careers in conservation and preservation. Club meetings discuss future fundraisers and further artifacts to preserve.  “We are also organizing trips to visit communities centers to learn about their cultures,” Vice President of the Conservator’s Club Rubin Peci said. The Conservators Club is also trying to raise enough money to visit Italy in the summer to see cultural heritage sites.

This year was the first year that the club had managed to organize a big event. “I brought the idea [of trying to save the Roman shoes] to the club and the club decided that they wanted to have a bake sale […] we sent the money to Vindolanda and they sent us the certificates of conservation,” Rocchio said. “We sold cookies and different baked goods that the students brought in,” Peci said.

The club will continue working, and their next project is to preserve the terraces of the Philippines by adopting them and working with RICE, Inc.

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