By MICKI DIAS
Special To The leader
On May 10, the Oakdale Junior High School seventh grade class spent the day feasting and enjoying history outside the walls of the classroom. Students enjoyed the festivities at the second annual OJHS Renaissance Faire with presenters from Workshop in the Woods. The seventh graders toured the campus with their teacher, living history as it would have been during the Renaissance. Through the generosity of the OJHS Parent Teacher Club, the District Office and the OJHS Student Body, the day was full of festivities and fun.
The day is completely hands on with the students actually participating in the demonstrations. During the Arms and Armor presentation, students were allowed to try on the armor getting a feel for the weight and how mobility could be a challenge. During Rounders, (a game similar to baseball) students were given the history of the sport before being split into teams and playing a full game. While experiencing the falconry demonstration, a few lucky students were allowed to hold a bird while others took part by lying on the floor while the red-tailed hawk flew a foot above them before swooping up to the falconer’s glove.
The students also experienced some of the arts of the Renaissance period. Dance, song and drama were important forms of entertainment during this time. The students were taught dance etiquette and proper techniques before the entire class began the performance. After learning the architecture of the theater and the importance of staging, students were pulled up on stage to partake in the Shakespearean play Romeo and Juliet. Each student completed a craft to take home, attending either the paper making or poppet (small rag like dolls) class. This was a new addition to the day, thanks to the generous funding of our PTC and DO. To have the students be able to take a craft home to remember the day was wonderful.
To have a better experience, students and teachers dressed up to make the day more authentic. Almost every walk of life was represented, a butcher, baker, royalty, pirates, jesters, artists, and even a student dressed as a painting and a teacher as a dragon were among the costumes worn. Although many students made their costumes, and they were incredible, three stood out, Lydia Stueve, Marissa Rogers and Aiden Scott took honors for making their wonderful costumes.
Students were required to complete a Renaissance project, one of which could have been a siege machine for the competition. Students trebuchets and catapults hurled tennis balls in the field, with Simon Apple and Carson Dowlin winning the competition. Their catapult went 145 feet.
It was clear from the student’s faces during the presentations and while participating, that the students had a great time. They came away from the day having a much greater understanding of the Renaissance Era and how it connects to today’s world in the form of laws, the arts, weaponry, sports, and academics. Having the presenter who specializes in the area they teach is an incredible benefit. The students really get a clear idea of what life in the Renaissance was like, both positive and negative.