Written By: Katharine Chi

Graphic By: Yiying Zhang

A student spends a majority of their days at school. Every day, students, staff, parents, alumni and visitors view the colors, lights, hallways, windows, signs and plants of the campus. Las Lomas senior Jasmine Ornelas said, “A school environment has the ability to encourage a conversation among students, to inspire creativity, [and] to become a safe space and to motivate.” The moment a student enters the school campus, the exterior is the first to be seen. During the summer, new landscaping was installed on campus, along with new roofing and plumbing. The main focus was incorporating more nature and improving the gardens at school. In November, Principal Sara Harris organized a Community Planning Meeting to discuss possible changes to the school campus. The meeting was for students to voice their thoughts and hopes on what they sought to see in the school’s exterior appearance.

The Community Planning Meeting occurred on Monday, November 8. Harris encouraged students to participate and collaborate in the blue-printing process. After school on this day, anyone concerned about the exterior campus environment was given the opportunity to meet with Harris to walk around the campus and take notes on possible updates. Harris said, “I need volunteers, why not include them in the process? I opened it up, put it in Knights News, and talked to organizations. I had a piece of paper and I was just jotting down notes. I envision painting some of the gates, adding murals, and making it feel more like a community. Overall, we had a great turnout.” Harris added that she wanted the community to have a say in the process of revamping the campus and improving its infrastructure.

 The open meeting included a walk around the school and brainstorming visions for the possible future. After the meeting, Harris said, “[participants] really opened my mind to areas around campus where they find a need, which I would not have ever noticed.” With the community being able to participate in the brainstorming meeting, students were able to initiate a change to the school and voice their opinions. According to Harris, she hoped students, staff, and parents would work together and improve the campus based on their personal experience.

The physical environment can influence the way students feel and learn. Las Lomas senior Laila Siegel said, “I’m excited to see more flowers on campus and see more vibrant greenery as I walk to my classes. I enjoy the nature aspect and the ability to spend time with my friends outdoors. I look forward to the beautification of the campus.” Along with adding new flowers and bushes, Harris said, “ I think that it goes a long way into people’s emotions. Instead of just saying, that’s broken or that hasn’t worked in years, why doesn’t it work? Let’s fix it. Let’s collectively work together.” The meeting plans for improvements to damaged parts of the campus and fixing issues previously left untouched. Harris hopes improving the campus will encourage a sense of community and union among Knights. 

On next steps, Harris said, “I filled out the contract, and sent it to the district office. Once they get back to me, the parents who came and the students that are in my committee will be emailed back. Then, I’ll start posting on Knights News. If you want to volunteer, we’ll be here on this day and start working as a community.” If the proposal is approved by the district, there will be dates on which to volunteer and start implementing these new ideas. Students who volunteer will also qualify for community service hours.

As evidenced by the campus beautification meeting, there is a vision to improve the school’s aesthetic and overall appearance. With the changing appearance of the school campus and the meeting initiating more changes, Las Lomas Knights can plan to see the campus’s new, fresh look. The campus beautification does not mean a loss in memories, but an improved environment where Knights can look back at and reflect on the past. If anyone has any feedback they would like to voice regarding the school campus, feel free to send an email to Principal Harris.