All of East’s Cha-Cha-Changes

Image: Natalie May

By Armita Rohani, Angelina Tang, Pen Fang

Thanks to funding from the district and the $20,000 that the school store raised last year, East was renovated inside and out over this last summer. From new staff to new rooms, icons to memories, or just basic upgrades, the environment of this school has been completely transformed–for better or for worse. 

~The Building~

What was once the centerpiece of the commons is but a cherished memory for all upperclassmen. Amidst rising fears of a potential accessibility lawsuit, the district decided that it was best to get rid of our beloved pit–despite the growing student disapproval. Along with the other changes that were made over the summer, the pit–as you all know–has officially been filled. In addition, new flooring for the entirety of the commons, student street, and athletic hall was installed, giving it the shiny new look we’re now familiar with. 

Along with the changes made to the commons, East has taken efforts into modernizing the building with the additions of new clocks, announcement system, and welcome sign. East has replaced most of the analog clocks in hallways and classrooms with digital ones. These “modern time-keepers” have the ability to not only display the time, but also important messages. For example, a lockdown can be clarified to be a drill through posts on these new clocks. East also added a new sound effect (with an airport-esque feel) to be used as the new bell, and will be played before any announcements. The P.A. system, similarly, has also upgraded from the old telephone to a high-end mic that is easier to navigate.

Thanks to the school store for raising over $20,000 this previous year, East can now enjoy a new digital sign posted at the entryway; announcing all student events or quotes from impactful people who have defined history–this past week featured President Abraham Lincoln.  Although its architecture remains the same (and was not gouged out) the new digital perspective only adds to East’s rapid modernization. 

~The Teachers~

Many of you have already met Mrs. Weber, our new librarian! She used to be the librarian at Maple East for 28 years, where she shaped many students’ love for reading with her enthusiasm and spirit. Now, she has brought that spirit to East, working to make the library feel more homely: new decorations, book quote posters, and the Maker Space. Additional displays of featured books will help students find new and exciting reads quickly. Furthermore, Mrs. Weber hopes to genrefy the library further, organizing the fiction and nonfiction sections by genre instead of the author’s last name to make it easier for students to find books based on their preferences. She’s happy to see some of her former students here at East and says that, “Everyone’s been so friendly and welcoming, and I’m thrilled to be here!”

As former band students have heard, Mr. Lanighan chose not to return to East this year in order to pursue his independent musical career in other avenues. We–at the East music department–are glad that he is choosing what makes him happy and most fulfilled, and will be cheering him on, no matter where his music and charisma takes him! Mr. Lanighan is a fantastic teacher who inspires many students, and he will surely continue to inspire more as he picks up adjunct teaching positions at Fredonia.

In the meantime–while the district finalizes bringing in a new band teacher–the wind ensemble will be under the care of Mr. Kazmierczak. He has decades worth of experience teaching and is honored and thrilled to be at East–in fact, he says that he moved to this area specifically for this school and its “innovative programs.” He says that he hopes to prepare the students so that once the new full-time teacher comes to East, “they can pick it up the next day… have a great time, and be able to run to the end of the year as they’ve always had, without skipping a beat.”

~New Policies~

To combat the teacher aide shortage in the school, East has begun the implementation of sixth assignments for teachers. In addition to the periods when teachers have classes, they have an additional shift during another period, covering places like bathroom sign-ins, the suspension room, or the commons. Not only does this impact teachers’ schedules, but also student resources. The clinic/office most subjects have–such as math and english–has been diminished greatly. The math office–the area most hard hit–cannot administer make-up tests anymore as there are not enough staff members to watch over students, forcing students to come in during teacher free periods or after school. Chances to make up lessons in the music department have been restricted as well due to the same reasons.

The administrative talks introduced all of us to policies new and old. Whether it’s parking, suspensions, or being tardy, life at East has changed just as much–if not more–than the building itself. While the “don’t open the door” and headphone rules have stayed the same, students have lost the 5-grace-minutes between 7:45 to 7:50. Those who arrive late can no longer sneak off to class but must wait outside while the new attendance facility administers one student at a time. Parking privileges are still held, though students are to remain in the yellow slots only (as well as arrive on time).  Other details can be found on the presented slideshow, located on WITS.