Marco Madness sends Bearden back to Middle Ages this Saturday


Madison Chan, Staff Writer

As March draws to a close, Madness reaches a fever pitch; but while March Madness enthusiasts are reaching for their brackets and TV remotes, Marco Madness enthusiasts are reaching for their swords and lances.

Bearden will host its first ever Marco Madness on Saturday. It’s an event that the planners hope will bring the world of the Middle Ages to students by allowing them to participate in games, brief history sessions, and activities that connect medieval-themed popular icons to their historical counterparts.

“It’s kind of ‘scholarly meets fun and entertaining’,” said Mrs. Tammy McKibben, a Bearden history teacher and one of the project heads.

The event began as a collaboration between the Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at UT and a number of Bearden teachers who wanted to expose students to the careers available through classical and historical studies. Spearheaded by Mrs. McKibben and Latin teacher Mr. Sandy Hughes, three Bearden student committees were formed to work with the Marco Institute and the Tennessee Medieval Faire to put together the event that became Marco Madness.

Some of the highlights of the day will include round table trivia, performances by the Tennessee Medieval Faire street players, a costume contest, and lectures from UT faculty, although student organizers said that the lectures will be different from the run-of-the-mill classroom lecture.

“[The lectures] are going to be medieval studies themed, but they’re connecting it to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, and stuff like that,” said senior Perry Johns, who is a member of the hospitality and entertainment committee.

Overall, the event will allow students to pick and choose which activities they would like to participate in throughout the day. The West Mall, which will undergo a transformation into a Medieval forest, will house booths and food. Events such as trivia and lectures will take place in the library, cafeteria, and auditorium. However, even though the event is being housed at Bearden, students from every high school are welcome and encouraged to come.

Even as coordinators are in the midst of adding the final touches to this year’s event, the students and staff who planned it are already looking to the future. Senior Katy Burton has played a large role in making Marco Madness a reality and said this year has taught them a lot about what they want to do similarly and differently in future years.

“We…would like to expand the event in future years to be even better, and we would love to increase our social media presence,” Burton said.

But for the time being, the event’s coordinators can celebrate the product of months of hard work as Marco Madness kicks off this Saturday.

Marco Madness takes place at Bearden from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free, and all high school students are invited to attend.

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