The Vikings stormed Sherman Elementary School last Friday.
They didn’t pillage and, in fact, left the school with some unusual memories, like twirling around 10 times holding a pole in the air.
As they have done in past years, the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) – they were the Vikings – stopped by the school for a Medieval Feast.
The SCA is a non-profit educational organization that studies the Middle Ages by recreating the pastimes and crafts of the period. Their “Known World” consists of 19 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members from all over the world.
The group that raided Sherman was part of the East Kingdom. The gathering featured lords, ladies, knights, and others in armor.
Peter Lafrenaye, plays the Medieval character of Lord Wulfric the Black who is a north Viking who migrated into Basanti. He is Chieftain of the Dragon wolf household. Lafrenaye and the rest of the SCA put on a lesson for the children by fighting and then feasting.
The students and their teachers were ready and joined in by dressing in costumes for the event.
“We are the East Kingdom and we will go declare war on another kingdom and we fight and our saying is ‘enemies on the field, best friends off,’” Lafrenaye said. “So the guys I’m fighting against, we’ll go at it full contact and I’ll go to their encampment after, sit down and have a nice drink with them and laugh and joke.”
The combat is not choreographed; it is real. Last week the SCA was participating in single tournaments, but they also engage in melees where it’s a thousand taking on a thousand.
Everyone from the kingdom picks a persona and a timeframe and that’s how they build their armor and garb.
The East Kingdom has been performing for Sherman for 13 years now.
“They asked us to come one year,” Lafrenaye said. “All the kids that can’t learn through books get to hold the armor, they get to see it, they get to talk to us, they get to voice and have fun and yell and scream.”
Patricia Bastia, a sixth grade teacher at the school, says it really helps the kids learn.
“It’s living history, history comes alive,” said Bastia. “One of her favorite quotes about education is something Ben Franklin said, ‘Tell me, I forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand,’ and the Medieval Feast really involves the kids. There are active learners.”
Luke Gibeau, a sixth grade student, was named the “man of honor.” He talked about how he had to clean off the field of shields and swords after the knights were done battling.
“It was really great being the man at arms because I learned more about what the person had to do in these fights,” said Gibeau. “They had to get everything off the field if it was left there after the people got off the field, and we had to give the person who I work with everything that he asked for.”
A sixth grade student, Jadyn DeLayo, performed a pole-balancing act that was practiced in the Middle Ages. She thought that it would be easy but it wasn’t.
“I noticed that everybody was getting really dizzy spinning around and then falling down, and I didn’t want to get dizzy so I went really slow,” DeLayo said.
The performance is not just fighting; it also integrates arts and science into the show. There are people that brew mead, and bragget and cook.
Meghan Durand, a sixth grade teacher at Sherman, is always excited to work with the SCA.
“Every year that they come it is impressive, the students learn a great deal,” Durand said. “They look forward to it and actually the entire school loves having them here.”
She says the event goes very well with the class curriculum because toward the end of the year the class studies the Medieval Times.
Durand’s teaching assistant Amy Harnedy enjoyed the SCA’s performance, too.
“I love when the children have to pick their medieval name and character out of a hat and so they do not know what they’re going to get,” Harnedy said.
After the children pick their character, they must read books and research on the Internet to find out about them.
The lesson teaches the children to be resourceful. The teachers say the children really like the independence.
The students will be responsible for putting together a report through a PowerPoint, on the SCA event as well as course content. Students were taking pictures of the Vikings to prepare for the presentation.
Durand was very thankful for the efforts put forward by the children’s parents and the principal.
“The parents have been a huge part of all of this, putting together our feasts and getting volunteers involved,” Durand said. “Dr. Paton, our principal, has been outstanding and supportive through all of our activities that we’ve done this year, especially this.”
Harnedy added that the children have taken on the roles of the characters they had picked.
“Every student here is their character today and their not just dressed as their character, they are their character,” Harnedy said. “They are living their character today.”