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Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times

Winthrop High School's Premier News Site Since 2019

The Viking Times


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The New Year of the Viking Longships Project


Here at Winthrop High School one of our popular electives is the Viking Longships Project. This is a course that has many different activities and departments within it. It is inspired by true Viking Culture. Some of our popular departments are wood carving, timber framing, sports, textiles, and blacksmithing. Mr. Skane has been the teacher in this program from the beginning. He just retired after last school year and handed the project over to Mr. Tarantino.

To start this program, students have to go through a process called Hel Month. This is when students are given many assignments to better help their understanding of Vikings and their culture. A veteran ( someone who already completed Hel month)  becomes the teacher for the Hel month students. Right now this person is sophomore, Stella Osburn. When asked how hel month is going Stella comments, ¨they have around two weeks, not a lot left. They just have around four more assignments, and then they have their final presentation.¨ The students in hel month seem to be doing very well and are eager to finish and start working in their desired departments.

The Viking Longships Covered Bridge

A big project that we are working on now is the Covered Bridge. This bridge is going to be placed on hole nine at the Winthrop Golf Course. A couple of different departments are working on this. The main one is timber framing which has been building the entire thing. I caught up with the timber framing department head, Alessio Marcoccio to ask him more about the bridge. Alessio mentions, ¨ It’s going to be placed on hole nine in honor of state police officer and they are going to have a ceremony there. We are almost done working on it, we have a few more finishing touches and then we got to fit everything together. Mr. Skane´s going to help us with that and Mr. Vinny is also helping us, and all the work here is almost done.¨ Even though Mr. Skane is retired; he still comes and visits from time to time. Him and Mr. Tarantino has also been a big help in getting this bridge up. All the people in the timber framing department this year and last have been working diligently on this project and hope to get it up soon.


The start of the figurehead carvings

Another department that is helping with the decoration part of the bridge is wood carving. I talked to the department head, Stitch Moline to ask them about the work they have been doing. Stitch replies, ¨ Right now I’m working on the figureheads for the covered bridge at the golf course. There are going to be four figureheads, two on each side. And we are doing original designs for them.¨ Figureheads are carvings of animals, gods, or monsters. The Vikings originally used these on their ships to protect the boats from evil spirits. These figureheads are going to be placed on the covered bridge once it is finished.

One of the Viking Shields that is going to be put on the Covered Bridge

The Weapons and Armor department is in the process of making shields that are also going to be added to the covered bridge. Josh Taylor, weapons and armor department head added, ¨ currently working on building the shields for the covered bridge. About six to eight of them on each side. So about sixteen in total.¨ The covered bridge is going to be decorated with a lot of different parts of Viking culture. We can’t wait until we see it all together at the golf course!

The Vikings also had their own type of sports that they would play. In the Longships Project, we have our own sports and games department. They play games like Kubb and Jomswikinger, which are original Viking games. I asked one of the department heads, Vasili Tsiotos, to tell me more about the games. ¨Right now for games we are trying to find new games, we actually found one that is a fish-slapping game. So we are just exploring all options,¨ he then adds, ¨the game is called Jomswikinger, and it’s a game where two people are blindfolded and it’s almost like marco polo. You go around a chest and you try to hit the other person with a bag or a fish.¨ The Vikings would use a real fish to play this game. Here at the high school, we use a bag instead. The Vikings had a lot of strange and interesting games that they would play.

If you have ever walked by the middle school entrance you might have noticed a shed on one of the patios. This is where the blacksmithing shed is located. Recently they have been working on nails. During the Spring of last year, we hosted a 5th grade field trip to show the 5th graders more about our program. When they were here they helped make nails in the blacksmithing department. The department head, Jack Osburn commented, “We are making nails for the Fort Banks because when the kids came they made nails and now we are finishing them to send to their classes. And then we are going to do a handle to put on our blacksmithing shed and make a culinary set.¨  The blacksmithing department already has a lot of goals set for the year.

Even though school has just begun, the Viking Longships Project has started out strong. Everybody in their different fields has been very busy. The biggest project at the moment, the covered bridge is coming along really well. We have a lot of different departments adding to it, to make sure it comes out its very best. We are super excited to see and share our improvements in the upcoming weeks. 

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