St. Joseph students experience the Middle Ages

By Joel Charron

For the past few weeks, the Grade 4 students at St. Joseph Elementary School have been learning about medieval times.

On Wed. May 4, Elena Tennant and Natalie Daragon Grade 4 students closed their unit of study with a special presentation from a man who knows the medieval times all too well.

Jay McKey, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) gave the Grade 4 St. Joe’s students an idea of what life was like during the Middle Ages through demonstration. Armed with a number of items from the Middle Ages such as, clothing, horns, weapons and armors, McKey is able to give students a small glimpse into a world that existed centuries ago.

Society for Creative Anachronism member Jay McKey with the assistance of St. Joseph’s Grade 4 teachers Elena Tennant and Natalie Daragon demonstrates medieval weapons

McKey, who has been involved with the SCA for over 20 years, says he became interested in medieval times when he was in high school.

“I always found this stuff fascinating,” said McKay.

McKey said he enjoys travelling to schools and educating not only students on the Middle Ages but also adults.

“For the kids, it’s the first time they are learning about this stuff and oddly enough a lot of the adults are hearing this stuff for the first time as well,” he said.

In SCA, McKey is a Viking, known as “Ragmar.”  McKey told the students that because many people were unable to read, they were identified by symbols. The symbol for the Viking “Ragmar” is three triangles.

McKey taught the students about the different weapons used during the Middle Ages and how they wore chainmail armor to show how people protected themselves from their enemies.

“What many people don’t know is that there is a connection between the Medieval times and today,” said McKey.

After the demonstration, students were treated to a lunch of chicken and potato wedges where they used only their hands to eat, the way they did it back then.

After lunch, students wrapped up their unit of study by setting up special centres where they participated in events like jousting, sword fighting, bow and arrow targets, chess and checkers, and also making their own medallions.

Although McKey said he loves talking and educating people about the medieval times he said he is glad he is alive in this era.

“It wasn’t a nice place to live back then,” he joked. “I’m happy to be where I’m at.”

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