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Holladay Journal

King and queen for a day: Wasatch Jr. High students celebrate a medieval banquet

May 08, 2019 03:46PM ● By Heather Lawrence

Sixth graders at Wasatch Jr. High participated in a Medieval Day on April 10. Back row L to R: Josie Larson, Melanie Chamberlain, Anh Khoa and Grant Hulsberg. Front row L to R: Addie Blodgett and Sammy McMaster. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Social studies students in Utah all spend some time learning about medieval and renaissance times. But not all of them get to end their studies the way sixth graders at Wasatch Jr. High did on April 10: with a medieval banquet. 

Jennifer Buck, a world studies teacher at Wasatch, is what Principal John Anderson called “the mastermind behind the medieval feast.” 

“The banquet was the reward for (students) finishing their Middle Ages/Renaissance project. We were lucky enough to have 62 parent volunteers and lots of support from the staff and administration,” said Buck.

Teacher Aubrey Banks also taught the unit and helped with the project. “This is our second year doing this at Wasatch, but Ms. Buck has been doing the feast for several years. We both taught at Upland Terrace and brought the tradition over when we came here,” said Banks. 

Sixth graders do a three-month study unit on medieval times and the Renaissance. “Parents help by donating food and decorating tables. We’ve got about 250 students involved and it’s become a really fun event,” Banks said. 

For the April 10 event, everyone was required to come in costume and choose a class king and queen. “The day started with the students being greeted by their king and queen. Then they got to have their meal,” Banks said. 

Banks said they tried to be as authentic as possible with the banquet. “The kids eat lots of fruit. They eat chicken, but they get to eat it with their hands because in medieval times they didn’t have utensils,” said Banks. 

This year Wasatch had help from Skyline High, too. Skyline ballroom dancers provided entertainment while the sixth graders ate, and their improv team performed skits. 

“It’s been great. When they see the high school students dancing and acting and putting on costumes, then it’s OK for the sixth graders to be having fun doing this. Then it’s cool,” said Banks. 

The students said they had a great time. “We ate a lot of food, and we ate it all with our fingers! And we danced,” said student Josie Larson, who said her flowing green dress came courtesy of Amazon. 

“We help kids so that everyone can dress up somehow,” Banks said of the costume requirement. Some borrowed costumes from neighbors or went to the DI. 

“This is just my brother’s Jedi costume over a dress,” said student Melanie Chamberlain.

After the feast the students learned to make hand-held catapults out of tongue depressors, rubber bands and plastic spoons. Then 250 princesses, maidens, squires, kings and at least one jester made their way into the auditorium for some entertainment from the Skyline Improv Team. 

Skyline’s theater teacher B Rogan greeted the students and introduced four of his improv students. They entertained the students for the last hour of the day with Middle Ages–themed skits, and had them laughing with situations like a first date with a queen.

Buck and Banks plan to keep the tradition of the feast alive. “I think it’s going to be fun to build it up here at Wasatch. We’ve talked about it, but the kids here don’t know as much about it because we haven’t done it for very long,” Banks said. 

Sixth grader Anh Khoa said he had fun and also learned something. “There was a knighting ceremony and we had the feast and then we got to poke people with sticks and pretend to fight. The activities today showed us how people actually lived, how they ate and what they wore. We had a lot of fun,” Anh said. 

Buck and Banks were happy with the way they worked the curriculum into the festivities and that the kids enjoyed the day. “It was a great time to reflect on all of those things that we learned, especially that the Middle Ages could be very challenging to most people, so they had to enjoy the fun times when they could,” Buck said.