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Reenactors bring Middle Ages to life

Cedar View caps off study with visit from Her Majesty’s Royal Guard

Cedar Springs — From gearing up in medieval garb to witnessing the clangs of “combat,” students at Cedar View Elementary got a close-up look at some elements of their curriculum during a recent visit from a medieval reenactment troupe.

The presentation tied into fourth-graders’ recent studies of the medieval era.

The knights of Her Majesty’s Royal Guard mock battle during a presentation at Cedar View

“We’re learning about the Middle Ages and stuff,” said Emmett Onan, whose entire grade has been studying the time period. 

Learning about knights has been Emmett’s favorite part of the section, so he was thrilled when the knights of Her Majesty’s Royal Guard — a nonprofit reenactment group — stopped by to help students celebrate the culmination of a fruitful series of lessons.

Emmett’s classmate Frances Roberts said the knights were a highlight for her as well, both in class and during the presentation. She said she sees knights as heroes.

“I like learning about the knights and how they help the serfs, or help in the war,” Frances said. “They save people.”

Lessons ‘Come Alive’

Emmett, Frances and their classmates were all oohs and ahhs as they surveyed the equipment brought to the school by Her Majesty’s Royal Guard, picking up and trying on shields and helmets as the reenactors prepared to conduct mock battles.

Principal Sam Becker said the visit came at the perfect time, as students had just wrapped up a test on the time period.

“This is kind of the coup de grâce of all that work,” he said. “It makes it come alive and connects it to them.”

Becker said it’s become tradition for the knights to visit Cedar View, noting that they’ve appeared for the past several years.

Teachers like Anna Visockis are happy to punctuate their in-class curriculum with such an engaging and entertaining group of guests.

“This is just a fun way to end that unit and kind of get to see it in real life,” Visockis said. “(Students) see pictures in the books and we show them videos, but this is so cool that they get to see it actually in person, and feel those materials of things they’re learning about.”

During the grand finale of the presentation, the knights suited up in armor and selected weapons to demonstrate how duels were fought. Then, swords and shields met on the floor of the elementary gym.

The knights took a moment to tell students that, though combat was a way of life during the Middle Ages, many battles were avoided due to intimidation. Soldiers often conceded upon seeing a rival army that was larger or better equipped, they said.

Read more from Cedar Springs: 
A fifth-grader at heart
A new tradition: singing ‘together, side by side’

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Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley is a reporter covering Cedar Springs, Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids and Sparta school districts. An award-winning journalist, Riley spent eight years with the Ludington Daily News, reporting, copy editing, paginating and acting as editor for its weekly entertainment section. He also contributed to LDN’s sister publications, Oceana’s Herald-Journal and the White Lake Beacon. His reporting on issues in education and government has earned accolades from the Michigan Press Association and Michigan Associated Press Media Editors. Riley’s early work in journalism included a stint as an on-air news reporter for WMOM Radio, and work on the editorial staff of various student publications. Riley is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He originally hails from western Washington.

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