HUBER: Prioritizing storage over expression


Rehearsal after rehearsal for the guitar show left my stomach in knots – but not for the reason you’re thinking. There was something looming – something happening that none of us could control. The build up, imposed by this big, “all-knowing” monster, wasn’t just in my mind. It began to manifest itself physically.

P43, the beloved rehearsal room for advanced guitar students, started to shrink in size. Day after day, stacks on stacks of broken chairs, unused desks and bookshelves began to build up. It started in the corner of the portable; big enough to notice, but still small enough to ignore. Before we knew it, the pile had grown to half of the classroom then two-thirds. For the last month we’ve had only a small square for all of our amps, speakers, drums and guitars. 

We should be grateful. After all, we still had our own space to rehearse our setlist away from the rest of the class. However, other schools provide multiple sound-proof rooms and drum sets for their respective guitar classes, and at the very least give them the space they’re entitled to. It seems inhumane that we are forced to stand in a small square and play, bumping into each other as we rehearse.

Two weeks ago we were relieved from the caving walls and moved our entire class to the band room. Don’t let the size of the room fool you it is stuffed on all four sides with  items we can’t touch and need to stay three feet away from. It’s the bookshelves of P43 once more, just disguised under a resplendent cover.

The question that constantly runs in my mind is simply…why? Why did we move? Why was everything piling up in P43 instead of the seldom used portables packed with seldom used treadmills?

Our class, however, was not the only one to move. Peer Helping went from their two homes in the portables down to only one portable in a different location. The infamous motto “Our door is always open in P36” suddenly didn’t work anymore. Although it is easy to switch the motto to the new room, P36 was their home. It was where they were comfortable, happy, but most importantly, it was where they felt safe. Sure, it’s easy to change a silly slogan, but it’s not easy to move homes especially when that home was swept out from under them. 

It’s no secret that there is a lack of sufficient classes on campus. Science classes are in English classes. Almost all the teachers in the 900’s are sharing rooms with one another and are moving back and forth as the day rolls on. English teacher Denise. Weis walks out of room 935 (her classroom for numerous years) for prep, only for science teacher Jeff Underwood to take it over during fourth. Physiology doesn’t even have the typical lab seen in science classrooms, making it difficult to run certain experiments.

It would be different if our move was about making room for other classes, but it isn’t – the growing pile of unused items testify to that.

But what do we need more storage for? Broken bookshelves that occupy space, teacher desks that occupy space, broken chairs that occupy space, but the biggest one of all: boxes of basketball trophies and jerseys waiting to be hung, only to occupy what should be the student’s space.

I like to believe in the good in everyone. I like to believe that students really are the priority at this school. But there is an alarming pattern that is becoming precedent. Student’s learning should be put first over storage. The student’s environment should be put before storage. A sufficient amount of classrooms should be our priority. Storage, ironically, should be the last thing on our minds. Students and their well-being should be put first over everything. 

What happens when these now open portables become filled? What happens as the student population on campus rises? There is an immense danger with prioritizing storage over a sufficient learning environment. As the focus blurs on the students, our learning will only suffer. The school on the hill, known for teaching students, will become a storage unit. Only question is who the highest bidder will be! (Hint: not the students, because we only learned how to count bookshelves and play tetris with chairs).