By: Ibbe Ashruf
Although you may have noticed the installation of windows into the senior room after coming back from a long weekend, there are more changes that you may not have realized.
Many students do not know the work that has went into making the senior room a fun, inspiring, chill, and productive environment for the Class of 2017. Over the summer, Lawson Menefee (17) and Matt Tomaselli (‘17) refurbished the senior room, and they spent much of their time and money painting elaborate communal art that brought a sense of brotherhood and school spirit to the senior room. Senior Class President Lawson Menefee said, “In order to make [the senior room] more Gilman-centric, we painted things like a greyhound with the Class of 2017 painted on it and a blue and gray scale Maryland flag as well.”
Apart from the windows, another change that was made was a fresh coat of paint on the walls of the senior room. Lawson Menefee remarks, “I was really disappointed to see that they painted over those things and I think it was a bit unnecessary.”
For Lawson and many other seniors, the changes to the room are indeed appropriate, but they do not understand why their art and belongings were just thrown in a trash bin. Lawson recalled, "John Phillipou ('17) bought a poster of Harambe, and when we came back, the poster was crumpled up and in a recycling bin... it was sort of disrespectful.” One of the most popular activities in the senior room, foosball, has not returned despite access to the room being given to seniors. Lawson noted that the foosball table showed the essence of the senior room and it was “something where all the seniors would come together and play foosball, bond, and get competitive.” However, the removal of the communal art, games, and decorations that brought the class together is something that jeopardizes the vision for the senior room. Without the foosball table, the senior room will have a much different vibe than the somewhat tumultuous environment from years past. Lawson said, “It will be a much more relaxed environment, but it may not be used as much. I think the door created a false sense of privacy where we felt like we were just hanging out with our friends, and the closed-door mentality as well led us to forget about the women faculty and students who come to Gilman. I would hope the windows create a more self-conscious environment and I think that it will certainly make us more motivated to do so...to be more conducive to better behavior.”
Without a doubt, the senior room had an atmosphere that separated it from all other rooms at Gilman. Every classroom and most of the other rooms have at least one pane of unobstructed glass. However, the senior room did not. According to Mr. Rob Heubeck, the changes to the room were a “collaborative effort by a group of people” who decided that the room desperately needed to be reconfigured. He said, “The senior room incident that occurred in December really pushed us to a point where we needed to rethink of the use of that room and its structure.” The decision to install the windows was something that had been talked about before the incident in December, and it was not something that was a reactive effort. Mr. Heubeck insists that the paint that now covers the Gilman-inspired art was done to give the room a “rebirth and fresh start,” mostly because the inner wall was in bad shape. After all that went into making changes to the senior room, Mr. Heubeck hopes that now that the senior room has returned for the class of 2017, the windows, as well as the other changes, will create a new and better environment for the current seniors and for the seniors to come.