At the end of the last school year, high school students participated in mini-mester courses. The courses were designed to give students the opportunity to explore an area of interest as the year ended. Courses explored areas including hiking, biking, swimming, sports, Chinese, dance, and how to “adult”.

Students who were enrolled in “Think Tank” spent the class trying to solve problems to make BFA a better place. One of the main areas of concern was the parking lot. Students expressed frustration with the number of spaces available, people parking in their reserved spots (students pay for a designated space in the main parking lot), and the loss of parking spaces in the winter due to the snowbanks. 

Several students in the class decided to try to fix the parking situation and worked with Amy Plog in the main office. They developed new guidelines for parking and determined that some spaces would be open on a first come first served basis. The students also proposed the idea of allowing members of the senior class to personalize their parking space. 

One student, Natalie B. took the mantle to make this idea a reality. She found other schools that have tried this and researched their policies and procedures. Through the summer, Natalie worked with administrators to create an information packet to send to seniors with the guidelines and expectations for personalizing their space. 

On a Thursday night two weeks before school started, the seniors (and their families) gathered in the parking lot to begin the process of transforming their spaces. They brought paint, rollers, tape and an approved design with them. They quickly learned that they needed more paint than they were told by the hardware store as they started their designs. A quart of paint doesn’t go very far on asphalt!

Students worked through the weekend, when their schedule and the weather allowed, and created impressive final products. It is clear that the students took great pride in their work.

This project was a great example of student voice and initiative coming together to solve a problem and allowed students to express their creativity and artistic abilities. Yes, we still have some parking problems, but thanks to our students, our seniors’ parking spaces are clearly reserved (and fun to look at!).

John Tague is the Principal of BFA Fairfax High School and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him @jtague252

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