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The City Journals

Riverview ninth-graders immersed in Renaissance

May 07, 2018 04:12PM ● By Julie Slama

Riverview Junior High students make and try writing with quills as part of the school’s Renaissance Faire. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

It appeared to be an ordinary school day when the bell rang, but inside the walls of Riverview Junior High, ninth-graders were transformed back into the days of the Renaissance.

It was all part of the school’s second annual Renaissance Faire that allowed students to learn more about that time period, said English teacher Cambria Demke who coordinated the Faire.

“We study history, Shakespeare and the Renaissance, but this gives our ninth-graders full immersion into what it was like,” she said. “They are not only having choices of what stations to go to and participate, but they are running it. They’ve researched about the Renaissance and came up with a project – music, art, games, fortune-telling, writing – to lead and share with their classmates.”

The Faire, scattered in what usually is called the auditorium, gymnasium, media center and classrooms, transformed into student-lead archery, discovering Fox and Geese and Frussi games, creating a coat of arms, quill or head wreath, learning dance, showcasing mini-performances, trying calligraphy or puppetry, munching on a scone and more.

Ninth-grader Sierra Peterson said that already in participating in a couple 20-minute sessions, she learned how to make a purple quill, played Fox and Geese and had seen some monologues from “Macbeth.”

“Fox and Geese is really fun, but hard – a little like chess,” she said. “I read ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and dressed up as in the time period. It’s been fun learning what people did in their spare time back then.”

Ninth-grader Macie Muller was having classmate Kalhan Foster create her portrait.

“She’s an amazing artist,” Macie said, who added that she took part of the dance instruction and ate a scone that “was delicious.” 

Kalhan said that she was enjoying seeing the transformation of classmates.

“I like seeing everyone dressed up and participating,” she said, adding that she liked the special effects make-up.

Ninth-grader and dancer Abby Gruis helped create the dance lesson.

“I watched a couple videos and then added them together to create one to teach,” she said. “It’s been fun to know how it was during the Renaissance.”

Parent Kim McKenna was among the handful of volunteers who checked off student participation at the student-led activities. 

“It’s fun for them to be researching and teaching what they learned and being responsible for everything they’re doing,” she said, adding that her daughter helped create a papier-mâché puppet for the puppet show workshop. “This will be something they remember.”

Murray Board of Education member Kami Andersen volunteered at the popular Scone Shoppe.

“It’s been great to seem them prepare and organize their own workshops for their peers,” agreed the mother of two ninth-graders at the school — one who taught a game and another who ran the coat of arms session. “They’re learning how to be leaders and they’re excited and engaged about their own learning at the same time.”