It was back to the Roaring Twenties for the eighth-graders in Gloria Cerrito’s social studies class when she transformed their East Islip Middle School classroom into a “speakeasy” for a day.
“I wanted students to get a feel for the era by experiencing the music, foods, fads and influential people of the time period,” she explained.
Before the event, students chose names out of a hat, picking actors, writers, poets, artists and other famous individuals who had an impact on American society. The students researched their selections – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Rudolph Valentino, Clara Bow, Alice Paul, Al Capone, Babe Ruth and John Scopes, among others – and then attended the Speakeasy dressed as their famous person, replete with props. Mingling with the other “guests,” they filled out conversation cards with information about the celebrity guests while sampling some of the popular snacks of the ’20s like pineapple upside-down cake, Twizzlers, potato chips and ginger ale. Cerrito also introduced the students to fun fads of the period, including yo-yoing and Charleston dance contests.
“I think it was a successful day,” Cerrito said. “The students were very engaged in the project and realized the impact of the people who lived in the ’20s – not only on that era but also on today's society.