Juniors Recreating the Roaring Twenties


Kaelin Cricksman

Students in Schultz’s US History, like Jesse Cassani dressed as Charlie Chapman, get into the swing of the Roaring 20s through a class simulation.

On February 25, 2014, Vista del Lago’s AP and U.S. History classes recreated a Roaring Twenties party to rival the actual decade. To the normal viewer, it may have seemed like any other unproductive class party, but in reality, they were immersed in the culture of the past.

The party was an in-class activity where students dressed as an assigned, significant 1920s figure. Everyone dressed  in outfits depicting their assigned person and ate pizza and cookies. On the academic side, students had to be informed about their figure’s life, career and why they were important, so they were well-informed when interviewed later on.

“I was David Sarnoff, a radio reporter who was the first to report on the Titanic and changed radio to a music box,” said Ben Mejia.

The class danced to 1920s music and drank out of plastic champagne glasses to set the mood of the era they were experiencing. These were just a few parts of the activity that made it different from a normal lesson.

“I think whenever you physically do something, you remember. Simulations are a way to ‘do’ history. It’s way more memorable,” said Kelly Baquero, a U.S. History teacher that put together the activity. “I think they’ll see the Roaring Twenties is not just a decade of party and there were many contributions to society other than flappers and the Charleston.”

Connie Lemon, another U.S. History teacher that incorporated the simulation into the classroom, was on the same page as Baquero. She reflected on why she thought the party and history itself was important. “[History] allows students to see if we are living up to our founding ideals,” said Lemon.

In what ways is Vista’s history curriculum different from other schools? “We talk a lot more about themes, primary source analysis, along with simulations,” said Baquero. “However, Common Core standards at other high schools are moving in this direction.” 

“We have an emphasis on living history… research and writing. A balance of traditional, academic learning,” said Lemon.

Though the Roaring Twenties Party is a Vista tradition, the teachers believe there are ways to improve it.

“I would like to add other college professors or have people bring in people that experienced the period,” said Lemon.  “Smaller class sizes for this activity are also wanted.”

Baquero deals with a different problem. “Time is always an issue, so I wish they had more time for research of their person and I more time to interview each kid for their characters,” said Baquero.

That  may be an “issue” for the teachers, but it does not stop the students from learning what they need to know about the Roaring Twenties. “You learn first-hand and understand by participating in reenacting historical events,” said Conner Wilson, a student in Lemon’s fourth period U.S. History class.