‘Medieval Magic: Reaching Experiential Parity’ wins Awesome Kingston March grant

Medieval Times is a historical dinner and show. Photo by Jessica Foley/Kingstonist.

Students at Molly Brant Elementary School will be taking a trip back in time, thanks to Awesome Kingston’s March microgrant. Every month, the $1,000 microgrant is awarded to a project that Awesome Kingston trustees think will keep Kingston awesome, and this month is no exception.

Caitland Conner, a grade 4/5 teacher at Molly Brant is very excited to take her class of 28 students and their family members on a year-end trip to Medieval Times — something that would likely not have been possible without Awesome Kingston’s support.

Matt Dubblestein, Dean of the Board of Trustees for Awesome Kingston, and Caitland Conner, a grade 4/5 teacher at Molly Brant Elementary School, were all smiles as Conner received the March 2024 Awesome Kingston microgrant. Photo via Awesome Kingston.

Conner, a life-long Kingston resident, shared that she is deeply committed to providing her students with enriching educational experiences.

“This will be an amazing opportunity for my students as they will be able to recognize that learning can also take place outside of the classroom,” she expressed.

“By immersing students in a real-life medieval setting, they can engage with the Grade 4 and 5 Social Studies curriculum in a meaningful and memorable way. This trip offers them a chance to broaden their horizons and make memories that will last a lifetime. It will be an opportunity for them to see history come to life and to feel a sense of pride in their learning.”

In her pitch to Awesome Kingston, Conner noted that while Medieval Times offers a subsidized rate for school events, the grant money will ensure inclusivity and accessibility for this trip, and offers her students and their families a significant opportunity to create core memories with each other, something that is not always possible due to financial barriers and life circumstances. 

“There are a great many needs within Kingston, and they all deserve to be met through the appropriate channels,” she told Kingstonist in an interview.

“This field trip will mean a lot to the Molly Brant community. It reinforces our commitment to providing well-rounded education that goes beyond the classroom walls, focusing on student achievement and potential.”

The students will take in the Medieval Times experience on Thursday, Jun. 13, 2024. Conner shared their itinerary:

“Upon arriving, we will explore the Hall of Arms, looking at and thinking about what we have learned regarding the coats of arms for many prestigious families. We will watch as the Royal Court and knights demonstrate the Code of Chivalry, interweaving historical takeaways throughout the 90-minute show,” she explained.

“While watching we will have the four-course meal provided. Any additional funds raised will apply to incidentals (e.g., purchasing flags, taking a group picture, etc.) that will be enjoyed by the students on the day of.”

Those additional funds will, hopefully, come about through fundraising opportunities at the school, which, Conner hopes, will also subsidize the cost of busing to and from Toronto. She also noted she will reach out to other “awesome” resources within the Kingston community for support.

When asked how interested parties could help further support the trip, Conner suggested they email her [email protected].

The Awesome Kingston money covers $1,000 of the $1,564.20 cost for the students to attend. Conner reported that the cost to each student for this trip is $13.34.

When asked how the school might support families that may not be able to afford this fee, Conner said unequivocally that the Limestone District School Board will not exclude any student from participating due to financial hardship. She invited anyone who needs further support to contact herself or the school in confidence to arrange a plan.

“Molly Brant Elementary School serves a diverse school population and is a truly inclusive learning environment for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 in the north end of Kingston. As a whole we try very hard to ensure barriers (financial or otherwise) are removed from experiences and activities outside the classroom,” she expressed.

“We are so very thankful that the microgrant from Awesome Kingston, in this instance, is literally bringing learning alive. This is an ‘awesome’ excursion for our students.”

Learn more about Awesome Kingston and how they keep Kingston awesome here.

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