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Ye ol' Shakespearean Festival treat for Yorktown students

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
May 23, 2012 at 12:23 a.m.

Elementary school students in the Yorktown school district made crowns and play with swords during the fourth annual Shakespearean Festival.

If Yorktown High School senior Samuel Foegelle didn't learn anything else about the Renaissance, he has a greater appreciation for the physical condition the people had to be at the time.

"It's amazing how much this weighs. They had to be really fit," Samuel said, pointing to the chain mail uniform he had donned for the 4th annual Shakespearean Festival on Wednesday.

Samuel was among 110 Yorktown High students who put on the festival. Another 600 students in the school district went through the numerous Shakespeare and Renaissance-related activity stations and events.

"It keeps getting bigger," said Teresa Childress, an English teacher. "It's a Shakespearean Festival, but we expanded this year and incorporated the time period of the Renaissance."

The Renaissance cultural movement spanned the period roughly between the 14th and 17th centuries, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe.

Shakespeare, who died in 1616, produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613.

"They are learning about Shakespeare, but they are also learning about the people and life during the Renaissance," Childress said. "There is also a lot of cross-curriculum learning going on, not only English and history, but also math and geography," Childress said.

"It's a history lesson," said sophomore Vicki Niemeier, clad in the finery of the era. "Hopefully, the little kids that go though can take what they learn to the upper grades with them.

Another lesson learned, Vicki said, "these costumes are very hot."

Theater arts teacher Margaret Hlavaty, whose students put on a puppet show and also dressed in period costumes to act out scenes from Shakespeare's plays, said the festival is the culmination of study throughout the school year.

"The kids get into it and we build on what they have learned," she said. "It's a good reward for their hard work throughout the year."



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