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The Round Table

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What’s with the unused outside space?

Author Sky Gill
Author Sky Gill

There are two unused outside spaces in Stamford High School: one on floor 5 and another one that rests solely on the 1st floor. These outdoor ‘courtyard’ spaces seem to never be used by staff or students, but has anyone ever wanted to know why? They’re a perfect space for students to go to for lunch, for classes to be held if their classroom doesn’t hold AC, or if the classes / people just want to go outside for some fresh air. From my three years of being a SHS student no one I’ve spoken to has ever had a problem with the courtyards being unused, but I’ve decided to do some digging.

My first step was to ask around other people (mostly students) at Stamford High School and see what they thought, but mostly everyone said the same thing: that they didn’t know why the space was unused, but it would be a great idea to just go out there instead of always being cooped up in a classroom. I also learned that there happened to have been a teacher named Mr. Martin that held a beekeeping club, but he left for Westhill High School because they had a better greenhouse. While it’s understandable that wanting a better environment for your club and the bees, it is quite sad that we don’t have that club anymore. That’s just one more reason why fixing these outdoor spaces is so important, so that we aren’t limited in opportunities. 

After that I set up a meeting with our principal, Matt Forker. He talked about how the courtyard is situated and how many problems it causes, not just for the space itself, but also for the classrooms that surround it. These problems consisted of flooding, leaks, also issues with landscaping. For example, the only way to get into the courtyard is through the media center or a staircase from the 1st floor, which could be a hindrance to people trying to fix/clean the outdoor space. Also there have been noise complaints made by teachers. “The courtyard looked like a warzone,” Forker told me. However, throughout the years the courtyard is slowly being worked on with help of the School Governance Council, aka the S.G.C. The S.G.C is a group of parents, students, and other people in the community who wish to enhance the quality of our school. A nice thing about the council is that there is one for every school in Stamford, so there’s no need to split the source of funding between all schools.

Another way that SHS gets some of its work is through Boy Scouts. One prime example is the ‘Stamford High School’ sign that is in front of our school Forker has been working with the Boy Scouts for a while now. “We have a bunch of Eagle Scouts who have helped build some things for the courtyard,” said Forker. For example, senior Simeon Sukinder is going to be working on this courtyard for his final project of being a Boy Scout, in order to achieve the rank of an Eagle Scout (more was said about this in the Round Table article ‘ Senior to Refresh Courtyard for Eagle Scout Project’.

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Now for the second courtyard. I unfortunately found out (or I guess fully processed) its existence very late in my high school career, so I don’t have much information on it. There does seem to be a gardening club happening almost every 2(A) period. Hopefully I get the chance to interview them and find out what made them want to make a space in the SHS courtyard. It’s quite encouraging to see places that a lot of people probably don’t think about as they go on throughout their day being taken care of.

I believe that to ensure that these courtyards don’t return to a state of disrepair after these amazing students, teachers, and all the other people that is/are participating in the reworking of the spaces put their hard work and dedication into fixing them, we should inform more people at SHS about the courtyards, showing how nice the spaces are and how they should make sure to keep the places nice and clean. If not, they’ll be stuck inside all year round… and being in the same setting almost every day is very tiring.  I also believe that while the news should be shared with everyone, the courtyards  should be geared towards the sophomores and the freshmen. This is because they don’t have access to open campus and will most likely be feeling the need to get out of their usual class setting more than upperclassmen, who can look forward to taking a break on their walk to Dunkin’ during their lunch break. Also, having kids help clean up the courtyard can be used as their volunteering hours, so it’s like killing two birds with one stone!

 

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