It was a trip back in time to the days of chivalry, of jousting and dueling, and of runaway dragons.
Medieval Days may not have been entirely historically accurate, but it lived up to the spirit of those days of yore, making for two fun-filled days for the students and staff of Stettler Elementary School (SES).
The event, held on Tuesday, Jan. 27 and Wednesday, Jan. 28, was the brainchild of teachers Kim Poapst and Jill Neitz, who have organized similar themed events each year for the past five years.
Poapst, Neitz and other teachers and volunteers were dressed in medieval garb as they led their students through games and activities based around the theme.
These included races across the gym floor on rolling rafts, riding on wooden horses and climbing over a mountain of gym mats.
Along the way, they helped Poapst — dressed as the knight Sir Goof-a lot — finish building her drawbridge and reunited her with her “dragon,” portrayed by different students in costume.
At the end, teachers and volunteers also competed in several games, including a jousting match on horseback and a contest that involved eating a piece of fried chicken while their hands were tied behind their backs.
The activities were fun but also served a purpose: reinforcing the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Students,” which the SES students have been learning over the course of the year.
These were rewritten slightly in keeping with the theme of the day. For example, students recited the following: “I shall extend chivalry to my fellow knights” and “I shall strategize with my noblemen, women and dragon before attacking the problem alone.”
Poapst said she and Neitz began planning for the events before Christmas, with the goal being to create “a fun activity that they’ll remember forever.”
“It’s always a huge success, the kids always love it,” said Poapst.
Many of the props came from past school events or were borrowed from other groups, including the Bashaw Community Theatre and Circle Square Ranch, which loaned the school the wooden horses.
The throne came from an earlier school production of The Emperor’s New Clothes, while other backdrops were repainted to match the medieval theme.
Each of the school’s grades got to enjoy the festivities over the two days, beginning with the Grade 1 students on Tuesday morning and finishing with the Grade 4 classes and pre-Kindergarten kids on Wednesday afternoon.
Students were instructed to dress in certain colours so that each team could be easily identified.
Teachers were asked to dress in period costumes, although some were made available for those who didn’t have medieval outfits on hand.
In keeping with the hygienic standards (or lack thereof) of the time, they were also asked not to shave or shower, although Poapst said with a laugh that most likely did not comply with that request.
The events began with an Olympic celebration in 2010, the same year the winter games were held in Vancouver. Other themes since then have included Australia, Canada Days and Duck Dynasty.