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The City Journals

Faculty room gets makeover for Teacher Appreciation Week

Jul 26, 2021 03:11PM ● By Jet Burnham

The Teacher Appreciation lunch and remodeled faculty room were both made possible by local donations. (Doug Flagler/JSD)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

West Jordan High School PTA members wanted to show teachers just how much they appreciated them after two extremely difficult school years. So, instead of giving them a cute note and a candy bar for Teacher Appreciation Week, they gave the teachers a new faculty lounge.

“They came to us at the beginning of the year and said, ‘We don't just want to put some little trinket in the mailbox, we want to do something that will last for the teachers,’” Principal Jim Birch said.

Teacher Appreciation Committee Chair Mele Misifoa said the WJHS faculty lounge was dark, dingy and out of date, with furniture that she assumes was original to the building, built in 1981. PTA members and custodians deep cleaned the room and furniture, painted the walls with light colors, hung new decorations and relocated flower arrangements that were collecting dust elsewhere in the school to make a cozy space for staff members.

“The PTSA has no money, so I worked with a little budget and got it all donated,” Misifoa said.

She worked for more than a year on the project and was able to get cabinets donated by Montgomery Custom Cabinets and a grant from Deseret Industries to purchase new tables and chairs.

The lounge makeover was a surprise for teachers. The room was closed for two weeks in May, and much of the work was done after hours. The room reveal and ribbon cutting took place May 26 along with a lunch for the staff donated by Chick-Fil-A and Crumbl Cookie.

As staff members filed into the lounge for their lunch and a first look at the room, they were impressed. They commented that the room was much nicer with the addition of flowers and new furniture. A group of language arts teachers said that it felt like a place where they could relax and feel comfortable working in.

Katrina Kennedy said the brick walls had been a dark brown that made the room feel dark. Many staff members said the new wall color, a light blue, brightened the room.

“It's definitely brighter,” Andria Robb said. “We walked in and it felt so inviting.”

“I think the PTA did a great job on the remodel,” art teacher Robyn Briggs said. “I am so excited that they realized how hard this year is and were willing to do something so special for us teachers. This year was something no one expected or wanted, but a new faculty lounge definitely helps make up for the lost sleep and stress that this year brought.”

The makeover is not complete. Briggs has been asked to create a mural on the main wall of the lounge.

“I plan on doing something to help teachers see their worth and their incredibly important role they play in the world as a whole,” Briggs said. “I plan on doing some sort of quote that will help lift the spirits of our teachers and help them to see how valued and appreciated they are.”

Briggs is excited to have her artwork be part of the faculty lounge remodel. She will also be creating another mural this summer in the hallway to the attendance office. The school entryway and commons area have already been decorated by murals that Briggs created.