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Festival combines learning with fun

CHESAPEAKE — The prize was honor and a Burger King paper crown. But the Chesapeake Middle students gave it their all as they played life-sized checkers on a board that covered the floor of a classroom.

It was a part of the two-day Renaissance Festival that the school’s talented and gifted students were putting on starting Wednesday.

Explaining the rules of this unique version of the old-fashioned game was Nick Malavenda, one of the TAG students, who was passing out the crowns each time a member of one of the teams reached the back line of the checker board to become a “king.”

From time to time the choreography of the moves got confusing, but it proved its point — that entertainment at the time of the Renaissance may have been sans technology, but had some laughs.

“What a difference in how they lived,” Malavenda said. “They were without running water or electricity, but they managed to make it through each day.”

As to whether he would like to go back in time and live in that alien world, Malavenda is sure he would not.

“Some of the stuff is pretty cool, but I couldn’t survive without running water and electricity,” he said.

Hannah Finley, another TAG student, showed how the Elizabethans like to dance, much to the embarrassment of some her pupils, who weren’t sure they liked this hand-holding stuff.

“You’re not getting married,” Finley joked.

The festival, a biennial event the TAG students put on for the whole school, began with a unique approach to Shakespeake’s classic, “Romeo and Juliet,” with a consecutive modern-day translation.

Translating the Bard’s iambic pentameter into everyday speech was TAG student Taylor Price, who was impressed with the depth of the intellectual life of that time.

“It is so amazing. They learned so much,” Price said. “They put their real emotion in their words.”