Bringing history to life

Elementary students are visited by Knights of Veritas

Cape Horn-Skye Elementary students were transported back to the middle ages during an assembly by the Knights of Veritas recently.

The event was organized by fourth-grade teacher Kathleen Lawrence, while her students were learning about knights, castles and chivalry in English Language Arts.

“I got to thinking during one of our lessons that it would be so fun to surprise the kids with knights in shining armor,” she said. “So, I started do research and hooked up with the Knights of Veritas.”

The non-profit group’s 90 minute presentation included the Code of Chivalry, dispelling myths with facts and demonstrations of historical combat technique.

Students were allowed the rare opportunity to handle the weapons and try on some of the armor. They learned that medieval swordsmanship used natural physical laws such as geometry and leverage, which meant that it wasn’t always the strongest competitor who emerged victorious.

To illustrate this point, Eric Slyter, director of the Knights of Veritas, called up a volunteer to demonstrate that even though she wasn’t the strongest or biggest knight, she could still defeat her opponent by the way in which she held and used her weapon.

“I am not sure that I could pinpoint just one beneficial piece of the presentation,” Lawrence said. “I have gotten all positive feedback from the students, teachers and parents that attended. This opportunity brought history to real life for the kids and adults. The day was rich with vocabulary that the students had been introduced to in our new reading program. We had many interesting, deep classroom conversations following the visit.”

Student Mercy Johnston was fascinated by the armor the knights wore.

“It was much stronger than it looks in the movies,” Johnston said. “It was different than I expected.”

Perry Wastradowski enjoyed seeing the armor and combat techniques.

“It would be cool to live in the Middle Ages but it seems kind of harsh,” he said. “The kind of life you would have depended on who you were. If you were a serf, you were stuck working really hard your whole life.”