2001-06-09 / Front Page

Renaissance Spirit Alive At 114

Renaissance Spirit Alive At 114


School is not just books and chalkboards, as Rockaway students found out last week. PS 114 held its annual Renaissance Festival (left) at the school. The festival featured student work around a theme that included Aesop's Fables, Shakespeare, and Michelangelo.  The students competed at a human chess game, made their own crafts and performed plays and musical pieces.  Pictured, from left are Kimi Sena and Lauren Dello, students at the school.School is not just books and chalkboards, as Rockaway students found out last week. PS 114 held its annual Renaissance Festival (left) at the school. The festival featured student work around a theme that included Aesop's Fables, Shakespeare, and Michelangelo. The students competed at a human chess game, made their own crafts and performed plays and musical pieces. Pictured, from left are Kimi Sena and Lauren Dello, students at the school.

By Aaron Zeidman

On Wednesday, June 6, 2001, fifth grade students at PS 114 in Belle Harbor celebrated the fourth annual Renaissance Festival to be held at the school. Faculty, parents, and special guests were also in attendance.

The event gave the graduating class a chance to display their talents and creativity, and everyone had a lot of fun in the process. During the festival, the school courtyard is transformed into a world of fable, where unicorns, hunchbacks, maidens and knights, witches and jesters roam. Student artwork is on display, and booths are set up where arts, crafts, fortunes, games, food and drink can all be purchased for a small fee.

Ann Todes, a fifth grade teacher at 114, said the fair began four years ago as a way of fulfilling a mandatory teaching requirement for the Board of Education. Nancy Merritt, another fifth grade teacher, collaborated with Todes to come up with a creative and enjoyable way to fulfill the task.

"The first year was such a success, " said Todes, "that they decided to include all four grade 5 classes. Parents have been very cooperative, and the costumes just keep getting better. Every year there is something new."

This year was the first living chess game, where students became castles, knights, pawns and queens on a life-size chessboard. The day featured a performance by a troupe of minstrels, recitation of some of Aesop’s Fables, and "Brush Up On Your Shakespeare," abbreviated versions of Shakespeare’s most famous plays set to rock n’ roll classics and hip-hop beats.

Fifth grader Faye Peithman, speaking on behalf of the graduating class said, "Our favorite part is being in charge of it, and not having people tell us what to do." Students can pick their own booths, and decide what they want to create. Faye operated the Shakespearean insult booth, where for the price of a quarter you could be titled something akin to a "mewling, weather-bitten serf".

"I like insulting people," said Faye, "so for me the choice was easy."

Lee Raines, another fifth grade student, said "My favorite part was learning about the artists and the time and place. I liked Shakespeare and Michaelangelo and the painting project that went along with it. Romeo and Juliet is my favorite Shakespearian play."

The money raised by the students is used for next year’s festival, arts and crafts supplies, recorders, sheet music, and other educational materials for next year’s fifth graders. A portion of this year’s profits will go to the Thomas Johnson fund, a charity established in the name of an exemplary student who was tragically murdered. PS 114 faculty want his life, not just his senseless death, to be remembered.

Kimi Sena (left) and Lauren Dello (right) pause for a moment at the gateway into a magical realm.

(Left to Right) Katie Fitzgerald, Michelle Kenel, and Mairead Greaney practice a trade with a great future.

A befuddled Aldo Lanci watches a hunchbacked Mr. Gerson, who stands in front of artwork created by his fifth grade class.


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