Middle School Goes to Middle Ages on Knights' Day; Southside Middle School Takes to the Celebration Very Well

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

Again and again, Richard Gasca dunked his head into a bucket of water. He came up dripping wet and elicited squeals from those nearby as he shook the water from his hair.

But the teenager came up with more than a wet head. He came up with eight apples.

The eighth-grader was bobbing for apples as part of Knights' Day festivities at Southside Middle School. Southside has celebrated the event since 1994. After all, its mascot is the knight, and it's on Knights Lane off Barnes Road.

For the occasion, Southside's central hallway was transformed into a medieval fair complete with banners, game and craft booths with turrets and shields, a hay-strewn floor, a smoke machine for atmosphere and coats of arms hanging from the ceiling. A suit of armor greeted students as they entered the fair.

Indeed, some of the teachers, staff and students looked as if they were auditioning for a movie set in the Middle Ages. Principal LaTonya Hasty was dressed as a maiden in a purple and green gown and headdress, and Janet Vaine, who chairs the language arts department, dressed as a sorceress with fairy-themed jewelry.

Not only did he enjoy nabbing apples, but Gasca said he was intrigued watching members of the Society for Creative Anachronism conduct a jousting demonstration. The educational research and re-enactment organization also set up several booths to add to the fair's authenticity.

In addition to honoring the mascot, Vaine said Knights' Day is a way to improve school spirit and enhance the sixth-grade social studies curriculum. And while they have a good time visiting the various booths, students love Knights' Day "if for no other reason than they get out of class," she said. …