Dozens of ooh’s and ahh’s floated through the hallways of Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School on Wednesday as Principal Will Campbell unveiled a redecorated teachers’ lounge made over with the help of Blackshear Place Baptist Church members.
“It was truly like Extreme Makeover, lounge edition,” Campbell said. “... It was definitely a great way to end a challenging summer and start the school year.”
Volunteers from the South Hall church orchestrated a surprise makeover of the teachers’ lounge that would have carried a roughly $10,000 price tag, said Blackshear Place Pastor Jason Nave. Teachers saw the new lounge’s debut, complete with a new sofa, cabinets and carpet, on their first day back. Students arrive Tuesday for the first day of classes.
Nave said after Fair Street helped the church hold a 300-student vacation Bible school at the school in mid-July, he asked Campbell what church members could do to properly thank the Fair Street community. Campbell pointed Nave to the 70-year-old school’s outdated teachers’ quarters.
“When he showed us the lounge, we were like, ‘Y’all need a makeover,’” Nave said. “The carpet was way out of date. The walls hadn’t been painted in years. They had some card tables in there with some school chairs around them. We wanted to make it a place where they can have a break and enjoy themselves.”
When teachers were allowed to tour the new lounge, Fair Street teacher Billie Macken said it was “heartwarming” to find the once “tired and colorless” room accented by new furniture and pale green curtains.
“It’s a blessing. It’s very uplifting,” she said. “It’s just nice to know that people really appreciate what we do, and we know that already from our parents at Fair Street.”
Nave said Blackshear Place member Dean Stringer of Stringer Builders was an instrumental volunteer in the project.
Blackshear Place Associate Pastor Scott Crook told teachers the church appreciates the community’s teachers.
“You are making a significant difference. This is a place where you can go to find a little bit of sanity on a rough day,” Crook said of the lounge. “I hope this will encourage you through this next school year.”
Fair Street kindergarten paraprofessional Debra Storey said she’s looking forward to getting some well-deserved peace and quiet in the lounge during her 30-minute lunch breaks.“That 30 minutes rejuvenates us to go back to the classroom and finish the day,” she said.
Campbell said following a year filled with school employee lay-offs, teacher pay cuts and more state budget cuts to education, the new lounge is a perfect way to help keep teachers’ spirits high.
“It is definitely a morale booster,” he said.