ROTTERDAM: Event brings history to life

Draper Middle School students went back in time last week -- way back to the Middle Ages.

Sixth graders celebrated the end of their Middle Ages study unit on Friday, May 11, with a Medieval Day, where students dressed in period costumes, played with a catapult and witnessed re-enactments of medieval warfare.

Each sixth-grade teacher did something related to the Middle Ages in their classes. Students learned calligraphy in language arts class, made sundials in science class, learned medieval puppetry and played horseshoes.

Sixth-grade social studies teacher Jen Palleschi coordinated the event along with social studies teacher Mark DiCocco.

Mary Ellen Shultz, whose son Christopher Shultz dressed as a knight for Medieval Day, said the event was a great way to end the unit. Shultz said her son has become interested in medieval literature after learning about it during class.

My son is very excited about this. It goes along with the things he is reading about, she said.

In the afternoon, students went outside where they watched two medieval re-enactors demonstrate medieval warfare.

Chris Ives, whose medieval name is Wulfstan the Unshod, and Sonya Dahnke, also known as Thug Sonya, dressed in Medieval clothing and used shields, wooden sticks, axes and other weapons to show how armies fought during the Middle Ages.

Ives and Dahnke are part of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Ives said he has been interested in the Middle Ages since he was a child.

"I was astonished to find a place where I could put on armor and hit people with sticks, and it is actually a competitive game. It's an enormous amount of fun," he said.

Ives said he was more than happy to celebrate Medieval Day with the Draper students.

"History can be fun, but dry," he said. "Without the proper context, it's just a series of names and dates, but put it in a larger perspective and it really reverberates."

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