Miramar school students celebrate a Renaissance Festival

MIRAMAR--Boys in breeches and capes and ladies in silk dresses were center stage during the recent Renaissance Festival at Florida Bible Christian School in Miramar.

The event featured an elaborate ceremony in which seventh- and eighth-graders dressed in medieval-style costumes and a "king" and "queen" knighted boys and dubbed girls as ladies.

"The purpose of the ceremony ... is threefold," said Robert McCann of Pembroke Pines, headmaster of the upper school. "It's a rite of passage to help our students move from childhood to adulthood; it's helped students learn about an important time in history, and each student takes a verbal vow to follow Christian virtues and ideals."

McCann, sporting a black robe and golden crown, explained during the ceremony the qualities required of the young knights and ladies.

"A lady should remain chaste, dress modestly, be a gracious host to guests in her home and encourage others to follow the Christian code of conduct," he said. "A `knight of the realm' should never lie or cheat. He should respect women, always keep his word and protect the weak. Tonight we celebrate the knights and ladies of Christ."

The king and queen -- John Vermont, 14, of Miami, and Jessica Ortega, 14, of Davie -- were chosen because they have the highest grade point averages in the eighth grade. Using a sword and a crystal scepter, they knighted and dubbed their classmates.

After the ceremony, students and parents attended a reception that featured food, beverages, chamber music and entertainment by court jester Stanley Gousse, 14, of Pembroke Pines.

"I'm very delighted to entertain the court," he said.

The festival was the culmination of months of planning, said Ron Cramer of Hollywood, an adviser and math instructor who served as lord of the manor and wore a vest with gold trim and a fur-trimmed hat.

"Our reading, writing and math curriculum during this time was based on the Renaissance style of learning," he said. "Many of the students made their own costumes and shields."

Cramer added that the school had an overnight campout, where students learned canoeing, archery and hand-to-hand combat, and a visit from the Broward Sheriff's Office mounted patrol, where students could learn pointers about horsemanship.

Crystal Bremser, 14, of Hollywood wore a forest green velvet frock trimmed with scarlet accents and silver and gold scroll designs as she was named "Lady Crystal" alongside Julian Uribe, 13, of Pembroke Pines, who was knighted. "It was shocking, but it gave me a sense of being independent," Bremser said.

The event was organized by Gitta Sapiano of Delray Beach, a social studies and lead reading teacher at the school.

"Hopefully they learned history, literature and their own code of ethics," she said.

(source) Sun Sentinel (Marcia Freidenreich) 3-23-05