By: Ivy Epstein ’19 and Liam Sullivan ’19, Guest Contributors
-With the end of our four high school years in sight, the senior class scrambles for a place to call their own: one last place to be together, to stress over the college process and socialize as a group. It’s a tradition not only at Friends’ Central, but also at every other high school. Seniors grapple with their impending departure by clustering into one space, and in our case, it ended up being what might be the smallest room on campus. The problem with the FCC Reading Room isn’t that it’s been known to be the senior hang out spot; the problem is that other grades don’t have their own. “I think that a solid space for every grade to bond with one another as well as work together should be available,” one senior states.
While the Reading Room is technically open to all grades, it is known school-wide to be the senior hangout spot. There are other spots on campus like this, such as the front left side of the meeting room, or even “the Ledge” in the old Shallcross Cafeteria. The issue with the Reading Room, however, is that the room was originally designed for other purposes: it’s the home of college meetings and the FCC printer and was originally intended to be used as a quiet reading space for all students. The Reading Room has developed into something entirely different; two fish tanks and a wall of embarrassing photos have turned the room into a much more social environment. Although the fish have been a topic of concern to many faculty members, Nora Wadsworth says, “The fish in the Reading Room represent a sense of community established through the senior class. They help practice stewardship and consideration for others. They’ve become a centerpiece to the class of 2019 in the most simple way.”
To some, the room feels open and inviting to all. Max J. Cohen, class of 2019, says, “Not only is the architectural construction of the Reading Room absolutely perfect, but lighting from the grand ten-foot tall windows is so enlightening to all who enter, from those in the middle school all the way to those in the 12th grade! [The Reading Room] is like a library and classroom all in one, but better.” Some students are very invested in the tradition behind the Reading Room. Senior (and Student Council President) Nathan Levitties adds, “This tradition of the room can then be passed down from class to class as something to look forward to in the future.”
The Reading Room has also brought a sense of comfort to many seniors, especially Valeria Fraga, who only started at FCS this fall. She says, “As someone who is relatively new to the community at FCS, it is nice to have a designated space where I can be sure I will find people in my grade. Rather than having to search for people who I could spend my free blocks with, I was able to go directly to the Reading Room and know that I would be fine to spend my free blocks there in a space with my peers.” By this logic, it makes sense that each grade should have their own lounge, as this would allow for students to feel the comfort in knowing that they will always be able to find their peers in one spot.
Some teachers and students don’t find the room to be so promising. One senior says, “At times the Reading Room can be a bit intimidating to those who are in 9th and 10th grade. The Reading Room is heavily used by seniors which is an overwhelming sight for anyone walking into that room to use the printer or any other daily usage.” Sophomore Luke Cooper says he is “against the Reading Room being all seniors because it creates a divide between grades and gives off a [negative] vibe to the younger students who look up to the seniors.”
So, what do you think? Is the Reading Room serving the right purpose? Are the seniors allowed a room to not only socialize alone, but also keep their beloved pet fish? Should every grade have their own designated lounge? You decide for yourself.