By: Greg Diette
A new epidemic has taken hold of Gilman: homeless seniors. The Senior Room has been locked for weeks now, leaving the senior class desperately searching for a new area on campus to call home. Since the day before break, spaces such as the Annex, the common room of Carey Hall, and other public areas have been crowded with members of the Class of 2017.
A closed Senior Room is not an uncommon occurrence. For Gilman seniors, historically, the room is often closed. Dean Boo Smith explained, “Once or twice a year the room gets closed and for all different reasons. Common examples are rough housing, loud music, or foul language from their mouths or their speakers.”
This closure, however, appears to be much more serious as the future of the Senior Room is in jeopardy. Rumors, namely, adding windows to the senior room, turning the space into a classroom or office, or even filling the room in with cement have flooded the halls. Mr. Smith made it clear that the state of the Senior Room is anything but certain, saying, “There is a chance that the seniors may get the room back this year, depending on how they react to their punishment. But at the same time, it is important to understand that space at Gilman is desperately needed, so we may do something different with the room.”
The criticisms of the senior room have received attention recently, while the benefits are often forgotten. Senior Class President Lawson Menefee (’17) described the brighter side of the senior room: “It was a great central space for all of us to meet and hang out. Especially after senior retreat, we really just want to all be together.” Mr. Smith even recalled his days of having a senior room, reminiscing, “Our senior class was slightly bigger, but generally pretty similar. It was a perfect spot for us to bond, do homework, hangout, or even nap with our free time.” History teacher Dr. Mike Kelly offered a different opinion: “I have absolutely no problem with the senior room being taken away...The Senior Room brings no benefits whatsoever.” Former student Mr. Alex DeWeese explained, “I think a senior room with no teacher supervision is a recipe for disaster.” He went on to suggest, “I think in the future there should still be some sort of communal space for the seniors, but the Senior Room should definitely have windows or be in some sort of annex so teachers walking by can see what is going on.”
Now the predominant issue facing the senior class is finding a place where they can congregate. Menefee remarked, “I spent every second I could in the senior room: free periods, after lunch, or even in between classes. Without a place to hangout with my grade, I now often just go home during my frees.”
The question of the senior room’s state will continue to be an issue of focus for Gilman students in the upcoming months. While some debate where to take naps, others are focused on whether they or future generations of Gilman students will ever step foot in the senior room again.