Salon Fosters Enlightened Debate

Kate Ginley, Staff Writer

AP European History students reenacted Europe’s famous Enlightenment salons on December 2nd.

“I’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve been here. Since AP Euro began at Campo, really,” said AP Euro teacher Molly Kerr.

“During the 17th and 18th centuries, Persian women would host Enlightenment salons and gatherings of the elite where they would discuss with little or no censorship,” said Sophomore Sofya Pesternikova, who, as a hostess, managed the salon.

Junior Thais Terrien was also a hostess. She explained, “It is a party where they bring together a bunch of famous people from the certain time period. All people go, and theres food and drinks, and we talk about opinions of justice, women and how much power they should have.”

According to Pesternikova, at the salon, “people got to dress up in costume. They had to be the person they were assigned and discuss among themselves as if they were the person. It was cool to be someone you’re not,” said Pesternikova.

Pesternikova said, “As hostess I got to welcome everyone with an opening speech and serve people food, and coordinate.”

Terrien said, “I was worried there wouldn’t be enough food and drinks for everyone.” Students were assigned to bring certain food after Thanksgiving, and some students had to complete the task before Tuesday. “Everyone was in a rush. People should know what to bring before Thanksgiving,” explained Terrien.

“It’s a different type of learning,” said Kerr. “It gives you insight into being someone in that time period in a way that reading about it or writing about doesn’t give you.”

“People did really well. There was heated debates a lot with nobility and philosophers,” Terrien said. According to Terrien, the students “embraced their character” as they screamed at whoever they were paired.

Pesternikova said, “It went quite smoothly, and was supposed to be a fun way to learn about Enlightenment ideas. It was relatively calm but boys decided to band on the table with an empty lemonade bottle and make a toast to me.”

Sophomore Michael DaRodda wore a skirt to portray his character. He said, “It was very loose fitting. I told my mom I was going to be Catherine the Great and she said, Here is the ugliest skirt I have and gave it to me.”

“It was very fun and interesting. I’m a fan of arguing with people in general,” DaRodda said. “I grew as a person. I would thoroughly enjoy doing another Enlightenment salon because I can expand my academic prowess.”

Kerr added, “If anything, students are surprised at how easily it comes and how fun it is.”

Pesternikova said, “I wish we could do it in every unit.”