History teachers hold first Shah Salon discussions


Sharon Yan

Adyant Kanakamedala (12), Felix Roman (12) and Deb Chatterjee (12) listen as history teacher Mark Janda shares his thoughts on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article in The Atlantic Magazine. Janda and fellow history teacher Carol Green hosted this Shah Salon in Janda’s room today.

by Rose Guan, Wingspan Senior Staff Writer and Designer

History teachers held the initial set of Shah Salons, discussion sections about specific aspects of historical or current events not highlighted in class curriculums, in their classrooms today from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Six teachers hosted this round of salons. Donna Gilbert spoke about Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel, Carol Green and Mark Janda discussed an article in The Atlantic Magazine by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Damon Halback held his session on Marxism’s applications to social media markets and Byron Stevens and Julie Wheeler led their salon on commemorating history with the likes of Confederate monuments.

“I think it’s super important, the Confederate monuments and the question: Should they stay up?” Wheeler said about her and Stevens’ choice of topic. “Is this sending a message of hate, or is this heritage, not hate, or is it a hateful heritage?”

Students could sign up on teachers’ classroom doors throughout all of last week. Attendees partook of tea, lemonade and cookies in downstairs Shah and signs outside the hosting teachers’ doors directed them inside.

“I felt that it was fairly interesting and very enlightening in regards to what it could have meant,” Sophia Gottfried (9), who attended Gilbert’s salon, said. “It’s a little anti-dogmatic, so it’s interesting to kind of see maybe the lack of that dogma [in Michelangelo’s work].”

According to Gilbert, teachers plan to host future salon sessions with different topics in January and March 2018.