Teacher and Students Reflect on New Wings


Image by Ashley Mulhhall

Advanced and on-level biology teacher David Berry organizes and prepares the required materials for a science lab in his new classroom. At the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, he moved to the F wing after not having a permanent room for three years. “The part I like the most about my classroom are the windows,” Berry said. “The windows let in all the natural light and I’m such a plant person, so I got to bring in all my plants and incorporate more life into my lessons. I think that nature has a calming effect, so having these plants in the classroom has been calming.”

For the 2022-2023 school year, teachers and students began utilizing the new classrooms found in the E and F wings. The area includes classrooms for science, theater and dance classes that were previously found in the C and D wings. 

The construction of the new wings began in 2020, but experienced delays due to the emergence of COVID-19. The construction of the E and F wings restarted in 2021 and was finalized one year later. Some teachers and students during the construction time period had to teach or take classes in portables. Now that the facilities are available for use, Science teachers who taught in the C wing moved to the F wing, while other departments moved from the A and D wings to the E wing. 

“It was difficult to move to the new room,” advanced and on-level biology teacher David Berry said. “The teachers had to pack their rooms, including supply closets, chemicals and equipment. The movers that the school hired moved all that stuff here and then the first week back we had to unpack our rooms. There was a lot of preparation for this school year.”

Even though moving was a difficult process for Berry, he is excited to start teaching in a new classroom with new equipment and plenty of space. 

We have these rolling tables and chairs, so I think there’s a lot more flexibility in the new classrooms,” Berry said. “The classrooms are set up for science, so not every day is a lecture. Labs are way easier in the new space because we have ample cabinets and sinks, so the facilities are great.”

Teachers aren’t the only ones excited to use the F wing facilities. Senior Rajika Parihar is currently taking Practicum and AP Physics classes in the new wing and looks forward to learning in a renovated environment. 

In Practicum, there’s a lot more labs, equipment and space for us to get hands-on practice in the medical setting,” Parihar said. “We also have these really cool collaboration and conference spaces that I actually utilized last week for a group project, so that was a lot of fun. For Physics, I see more lab stations and there’s a clear distinction between the learning and experimental parts of the class, so that’s exciting to see.”

Along with students taking science classes in the F wing, students part of the theater program have new facilities, such as a black box and costume fitting room. Senior drama club Co-President Clara Cavazos enjoys the design of the new space and the extra seating it provides for students.

What I like the most about the new theater facility is the black box,” Cavazos said. “Now we actually have a space that fits how big we want to dream and it’s really nice. We’re going to host all the activities we did in the old space in the new space, except this time it’s going to be on a bigger scale because we’ll have a bunch more seating. We’ll have like 100 seats open, instead of just 70, so that’s really exciting.”

The dance department has a new practice room that will be used by the Majestic and Sapphire dance teams in the new wing. Senior and Sapphire dancer Remith Jahid enjoys seeing a modern dance studio in comparison to the previous one. 

“The Sapphire locker room is in the old studio area, but every day after we dress out, we go over to the new wing where we have a whole new studio with so much space,” Jahid said. “There’s a higher level where you can record and see the entire room. I’m so excited to have this extra space because the old room was smaller and in this new space, everyone can perform to their full abilities and try out new things.”

Even though many are satisfied with the final results of the F and E wings, there are downsides to the new space. One of them is the distance it takes to reach the student restrooms. 

“The only thing I miss [from the previous wings] is that the student restrooms were really close because now in the F wing, you have to walk all the way back to the A wing to get to them,” Berry said. “The reason is that the restrooms [in the F wing] aren’t open yet and it’s a security issue. We don’t have enough staff to watch all the restrooms to make sure that our Mavs are being safe, respectful and responsible.”

In spite of the distance to travel to the student restrooms, Berry still likes the overall feeling of the new wing and finally has his own classroom. 

“For the last three years, I floated from different rooms because I didn’t have a permanent classroom,” Berry said. “I don’t want to ever go back to that. I love the new space.”