AP Euro Salon provides an entertaining way to learn


BSM Marketing Team

AP Euro students participate in the salon by staying in character throughout the day.

Axel Toft, Staff Writer

Students in AP European History last Friday gathered in the library ––garmented in a plethora of attire ranging from renaissance dresses to facial hair –– publicly mimicked and reenacted the Enlightenment Era (1715-1789).

Instead of lectures, students were able to engage in a more interactive learning environment. “It was an era where we had numerous philosophers, thinkers, who were coming up with new ideas about people and their individual rights and natural rights, and people would gather in a salon in order to discuss their ideas and debate,” AP European History teacher Ms. Vroman said.

Students were each assigned different social influencers during the time period: from inventors and artists to political engineers and rulers. Each contributed different attributes during the Enlightenment Era. In character, students were able to duke it out with each other on enlightenment topics like philosophy, religious rights, political ideology, and even artistry and music.”There is a wide range of people here. You have people like Beethoven, who is not necessarily known for his philosophical ideas and then like John Locke who is known as the father of Liberalism,” Senior Sam Benham said.

Some students were susceptible to more controversy than others, and political and philosophical battles emerged. Karl Marx and his proletariat society, for example, received lots of backlash from capitalist reformers like Adam Smith. “You know I’m not scared of anybody ok? I got the working class on my side. I got the proletarians we are going to rise up,” Senior Sam Benham said.

This unique experience allowed students to dig deeper into the curriculum. “You really feel like you get into the characters. I definitely know Peter the Great and the other characters in the salon better than I would if we had done a lecture or read about them, because you have to act as the character and it’s like method acting almost,” senior Thomas Beutz said.

I definitely know Peter the Great and the other characters in the salon better than I would if we had done a lecture or read about them

— Thomas Beutz

Along with group discussion, the characters were open to inform public visitors many of which included parents, roaming students in their BSM hour, and other classes. The questioning and regurgitation of information will likely be advantageous in AP exam preparation. “This will create an experience that will make it easier for me to remember who certain philosophers are and who people were, and then on the AP test it will be easier for me to draw from that knowledge,” senior Gus Pirkl said.

Instead of a large research paper focused on individual characters, students in the Salon are graded based off of the synergy they display in the salon as well as their knowledge of the character’s position on different topics. “Students are assessed based on their interactions in the salon […] as well as their resumé and position papers which describe the characters’ position on certain topics,” Ms. Vroman said.

Students and visitors alike thoroughly enjoyed the project and the off-beat learning style it brought. “The preparation was difficult, but the experience was very different and fun,” senior Jack Bruer said.