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Students give live history lesson

Rebecca Burk / L’Observateur / May 13, 1998

LAPLACE – St. Joan of Arc sixth-graders went back to the days of chivalry,swordfights and nobility Friday afternoon.

As a culminating activity of an eight-week unit on the Middle Ages, world history teacher Larry Bourgeois got members from the Society for Creative Anachronism to speak to the 70 students and perform some demonstrations.

Dressed in medieval garb, including armor, three members of the society told students how life was different in the Middle Ages.

The society is celebrating it’s 20th year this year, said Rebecca Lovingood, one of the members at the demonstration at St. Joan of Arc. Shesaid there are about 80 members in the local group, but people all over the world are involved.

Members of the society knew their history as they explained in detail to the sixth-graders how a law was passed in 1014 that banned surfs and slaves from owning greyhounds. Lovingood, who had Dark Magic, one of hergreyhounds, with her, said this law went on for a few centuries and even after that mostly royalty owned the dogs.

She called it the “queen’s sport,” because while the men were out hunting the queen would raise greyhounds. But these dogs weren’t used for hunting,she explained.

“They would cut the tendons in their legs or cut some of their toes off so they couldn’t run,” she said.

Greyhounds run as fast as 40 miles per hour, while humans who run very fast can run 15 miles per hour, she added.

Nancy McDermott told the students that greyhounds weren’t the only animals the common man wasn’t allowed to own. “You had to be nobility tohave a horse,” she said.

And Don “Eion” Ward said very few people ate meat in the Middle Ages.

Students also got to see pieces of armor and got an explanation of sword fighting from Ward.

He came dressed in armor, brandishing a sword, and brought other pieces that were used for fighting in the Middle Ages.

Eager-to-learn students peppered the three with questions.

Bourgeois said the students really got into the medieval lesson and hands- on activities are better tools for teaching than just lecturing out of a book. “They love it,” Bourgeois said. “They did a passion play and evenacted out the assassination of Caesar.”

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