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Honoring the Titanic Centennial

April 14, 1912. A date that went down in history. Just twenty minutes before midnight, Titanic, the “unsinkable” passenger ship, struck an iceberg and sank two hours and forty minutes later. This year marks the centenary of the tragedy.

In order to commemorate the Titanic centennial, the 1997 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, Titanic, was recently re-released in 3D.

The word “titanic, interestingly, is the third most recognized word in English around the world,” explained Gabe Temesvari, a former language teacher at Deerfield and collector of all things Titanic.

The Deerfield community, too, celebrated the event. On April 11, 2012, Deerfield Academy hosted a “Titanic night,” serving a meal “based on the food that was served on the ship, with our authentic recipes,” described Interim Food Services Director Michael McCarthy.

The selection of entrées included chicken lyonnaise and poached salmon, with éclairs and Waldorf pudding for dessert.

In addition to a menu similar to that of the doomed ship, artwork from the Topics Art class, music, and video clips created a more authentic atmosphere. “Both the students and my staff enjoyed it,” commented Mr. McCarthy.

At the beginning of the school year, Mr. Temesvari, a life-long Titanic fanatic, approached Mr. McCarthy about hosting a Titanic dinner. He also worked with AV Technician Sam Skillings in order to perfect the visual and audio systems. “He’s done a lot of research, and he is really fun and very excited,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Mr. Temesvari has been fascinated with the Titanic ever since, as a nine-year old, he crossed the Atlantic by ship. He believes the story of the Titanic “can be likened to a Greek tragedy where everything that was wonderful goes wrong.” He also noted, “The event showed clearly that both the rich and poor can be brought to equal terms by the certainty of death.”

Mr. Temesvari encourages the Deerfield community to honor the event by reading about it and remembering that its tragic consequences also brought about rules for ocean travel to make trans-Atlantic voyages safer: the coast guard ice patrol was established, lifeboats as well as drills became mandatory, and the routes were further away from the icebergs.

He also suggested, “Go see the movie in 3D! You feel like you are actually on the ship!”