On November 7th and 8th, 60,000 students and educators came from all over the southeast Texas region, and even from Louisiana and Oklahoma, to participate in School Days, an event which is educationally focused.
We have competitions in theatre, music, art, science, essay, poetry, costume, and journalism. We are thrilled to present the work of the winners in journalism. What follows is news stories and photos entered from many really talented students. We are thrilled to work with such awesome kids and their teachers.
First place high school story: Shelby McVey, Willis High School
Emily Warren looks around the full arena, watching the excited eyes of the young children as they witness the knights joust, riding their horses back and forth through the mud. She can't help the sense of nostalgia that passes over her, as this will be her last trip to the Renaissance Festival as a member of the yearbook staff. Wanting to make the most of this senior last, Warren sets her sights on the legendary giant swings, ready to experience that heart dropping feeling one last time.
On November 8th, 2017, members of the student media took their annual trip to the Texas Renaissance Festival for their School Days event. It is a chance for all ages to experience the wonder and magic that the Renaissance Festival provides. For the members of student media, it was a chance to harness their journalism and photography skills in order to participate in the contest that the Renaissance Festival holds each year, providing awards and scholarships for senior participants.
"The Ren Fest is full of so much activity and craziness, it is hard to remember everything we did," Gabe Zapata said. "I was so tired by the end of it; I just wanted to go home." The characters that litter the grounds of the Renaissance are ordered to stay in character, in order to bring the magic that the old days to a new generation of festival goers. However, this isnÍ't always the case with the older crowds. "I thought the characters were a little bit creepy and a lot got out of character when we would talk to them or ask questions," Karyme Puente said. "But honestly, it was really cool to see the lives of the people who love the Ren Fest so much that they want to be a part of it."
With the fun of the Renaissance Festival, came the search for an award winning journalism piece. "I'm entering pictures for the contest, so I'm hoping that I win some kind of award," Yoali Cervantes said. "I love taking pictures, and it would be so exciting to win. This year will prepare me for entering to win a scholarship next year."For Warren, this would be her last year to make an attempt at the gold medal that the contest winners receive, and hopefully have a scholarship accompany it. "I'm competing in the photography section," Warren said. "This means taking pictures of the characters, the pretty sculptures and statues, and the amazing shows that the actors perform. ÍDelicious food, magical sights, and old time gift shops were what littered the sidewalks of the festival, drawing in customers by the dozens. Some of my favorite parts were eating the Greek gyros, they were so delicious," Warren said. "But I also enjoyed walking in the Magic Garden with my friends."
The Renaissance Festival also brings old friends back together, reigniting the bond that was once broken by separation. "I got to see my friend who works at the festival now," Jocelyn Dow said. "He graduated last year and I haven't gotten the chance to really see him since then. It was really nice to catch up after so long."
Getting out of school for the day was a perk the student media got to enjoy, even having most of their good friends to enjoy the day with. "I loved being able to be out of school and still be with my friends," Amberly Nye said. For the seniors, the Renaissance Festival was one of the many senior lasts that their last year of high school brings.
First place junior high story: Ryan Dagley, Barbers Hill MS South
The Grand Joust
On November 08, 2017, we took a trip back in time to the Renaissance era and got toexperience what the Europeans did during that time. The festival was full of merchants and traders selling goods such as jewelry, weapons, and foods to the visitors looking for a nice deal. The festival correctly portrayed how productive and innovative the Europeans were with engineering and finding new forms of entertainment, and really provides a fun and educational experience for people of all ages. One of the first things I saw when I got there was the great joust. It was a battle between separated families, man versus woman. At first, the announcer was just talking to us about who would be fighting. Then the jousters proceeded to show their skill by grabbing hard to get rings with their lances. After that was over, the real excitement began as the contestants began to joust, but they get blocked and miss the first few tries. The woman connected with a crushing blow and sent Sir Thomas flying backwards to the ground. As she came back for the finishing blow, Sir Thomas was able to counter and grab her lance pulling her off of her mighty horse. Shaken but not stirred, they continued this glorious battle by picking up swords and fighting in gladiator-like fashion. Sir Thomas was able to regroup and land a few blows, but the woman came back and slashed Sir Thomas in the stomach ending the battle to the death.
The Renaissance festival is full of many sights and wonders that truly show us the major development that Europe went through during those years, rather than just being told what happened in the classroom. The festival and its activities are perfect for anyone who likes history and would like to learn more about it to increase their knowledge. The perfect place to begin your jump back in time and really get into character is the joust that provides great entertainment as it has throughout history and will continue through the generations.
Second place high school story, Nadia Bosquez, Poth HS
Come One, Come All to the Texas Renaissance Festival
Students enrolled in dual-credit English, and Art II at Poth High School made the nearly four hour drive to the Texas Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission, Texas. Although these students were called to visit the festival for academic purposes, there were many attractions that the students enjoyed as well. The festival grounds cover approximately 55 acres of land. Jousting, sword fighting, shops, and food vendors were among the activities that students enjoyed during their five hour trip. The jousting portion consisted of two competitors, one representing the side of England and the other representing France. After a steady battle, the French side proved victorious in both jousting and sword fighting. The 55 acres of land that the Renaissance Festival are occupied mainly by shops in which visitors can purchase items similar to those used and made during the renaissance era. From attire during the middle ages to replicas of weaponry, there was definitely a wide variety of items to purchase for the majority of interests that the festival's visitors had.
In between all the shopping visitors are bound to work up an appetite. The festival was not shy in providing its visitors with many eating options to decide from. Many of the students enjoyed corn dogs, turkey legs, pizza, pickles, funnel cakes, and even ice cream. Aside from normal fountain drinks and water, frozen lemonade made an appearances in a normal and king size.
In conclusion, the Texas Renaissance Festival was a n experience that the students of Poth High School enjoyed. The English and Art students were able to gain a deeper understanding of how people experienced the renaissance era.
Second place, junior high story, Claire Barnard, Barbers Hill MS South
Show-stopping Birds of Prey
The performance was stunningly interesting and absolutely spectacular. Sir Robert Chessman, the act's amazing bird handler, acted as if this was nothing but a piece of cake. He hopes to educate his audience by stating and showing facts. He also encourages listeners and watchers to never try to harm, hunt, and trap the beautiful birds of prey. Chessman educated his audience about the following birds, Igore, the Black Vulture, Luna, the Great Horned Owl, Mario, the Red-Tailed Hawk, Ed, the African Whiteback Vulture, and Orion, the African Augur Buzzard. These fascinating birds completely shocked the crowd and left us in awe. These animals were well trained to perfection. Some of them had a sense of smell and could see in color! The birds all had an intelligence level equivalent to a three year old child. Chessman cracked many jokes which added to the mood of enjoyment. Chessman also displayed many suspenseful tricks that you most likely will never see just on a regular basis. One of the birds he showed was the only one that had ever severely hurt him before. This bird devoured a chicken drumstick in under ten seconds, and that drumstick was in Chessman's hand!
Would you like to encounter the presence of spectacular birds that are going extinct? This performance was certainly entertaining and pleasant to experience. The act was surely worth my time and was not wasted. I was left in a sense of admiration and awe.
Third place, high school story, Maddy Palacios, Poth HS
Poth High Students Visit the Renaissance
On November 7th, Dr. Tiffany K. Polasek and her students made the three and a half hour drive to Todd Mission, Texas. This year, Dr. Polasek's Dual Credit English classes wrote essays to turn in to the high school essay competition for the Renaissance Festival. Abby Zaiontz, a senior in Dr. Polasek's class won second place in the competition, and Brock Kerby, Junior, took first. Zachary Hoover, a Junior, was also a participant in the costume making competition. Dr. Polasek applied for a scholarship with the Texas Renaissance Festival, won it, and received a numerous amount of free entry tickets that were used for her students and the Poth High school's Art class led by Mrs. Kristen Pruski. Travel was graciously paid for by a grant given to Dr. Polasek by the Poth Education Foundation as well. Visiting the Renaissance Festival in Todd Mission has been an ongoing tradition for Dr. Polasek for numerous years. Activities such as these benefit students positively because not only do they have fun exploring different events all day, but also get to learn a little bit about how life was back during the Renaissance Era. Both teachers hoped this experience was as entertaining as it was educational to further the students' knowledge about a day in the life during the Renaissance.
Third place, junior high story, Kami Taylor, Barbers Hill MS South
The Cotton Spinner
Her hands moved as swiftly as a machine, so perfect and clean it was unbelievable. Katherine was her name, a name that seemed as if it was made just for her. Katherine spun cotton so very gracefully. It was like nothing I had ever seen before, I was mesmerized. She was an old, light hearted woman with a smile that you could see from a mile away. In a very soft but raspy voice she said, "Well hello there, do you want to learn a little about my life?" I whispered, "yes." She intrigued me; I had never seen a person with such joy in their eyes over something so simple as just being there, so she started to show me how to spin cotton. Her worn down hands glided across the cotton ever so delicately. I just stared at her in awe, her hands moved so perfectly and her mind so focused that she was in a different place. At the end she let me try and it was really difficult, but she made it seem so easy. Katherine was like nothing I had ever seen before, but not just because she is good at what she does. Her old soul, her smile, and her happiness for even the simplest things made her different from everyone else.