By Audrey Moessing, copy editor
You can’t miss the bright rectangles against the blacktop; they stand out even when a car is parked on top. This year, for the first time in many, Maria Carrillo High School seniors were allowed to paint their parking spots, and paint them they did.
“Some are incredible,” said Principal Katie Barr, “like pieces of art.” When Barr was asked by Senior Class President Makela Pinoris if students could decorate their spots this year, she was a quick supporter.
“One thing that is important to us this year is to cultivate an attitude of kindness, and demonstrate that we care,” Barr added, and the senior spots turned out to be a success on multiple fronts.
MCHS originally stopped allowing seniors to paint after the parking lot was repaved four years ago. The intention was to preserve the blacktop, but this year Pinoris decided to challenge the standing restriction.
“We needed a tradition,” said Pinoris, “something to give us seniority.” She went to Barr after talking to MCHS Assistant Principal Albert Ettedgui and Vice Principal Amy Weise a week before school started and was given permission to move forward with a plan.
It worked out like this. Students had to complete a form and pay $40 in order to paint their pre purchased spots.
At the end of the year, 30 of those dollars would be returned providing students painted over their art with black paint before graduation.
The initial $40 deposit was to encourage students “to paint something worth keeping,” and the retained $10 will be used to purchase said black paint. The rules for painting were simple: no crossing the white lines, no inappropriate content.
Originally the time was set as two separate two and a half hour blocks on consecutive Saturdays, but students and staff quickly realized that a quality job took longer, and many seniors were seen working past evening into the night and even returning the next day.
But both Pinoris and Barr agree that it was worth it.
Barr felt that “leadership did a great job” and that it had overall “gone very well.” The few adjustments Barr mentioned for the future included finding a better time–MCHS got a “late start–,” better trash control and not sacrificing the locker room drinking fountains to saturated paint brushes.
At this point, it looks like the MCHS senior spot tradition will continue: students are happy and staff is happy. Not only is it a “great way to express who you are” as Barr explained, but it “brought the seniors together” as Pinoris pointed out.