Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


February 7, 2013

Students lead school improvement project


Going over their project, sixth-graders Willa Huang, Dylan Marsh and Vivien Qiao said they developed a library that provides more entertainment and creates a more comfortable environment for students.

Their vision for a library included electronic reading devices like Amazon Kindles and an area with lounge-like chairs so students can take a break for a few minutes and then get back to their studies.

With the suggestion of a pet room with rabbits, the group accomplished their goal to “make it more kid friendly,” Qiao said.

Starr Guerrero, an 11-year-old sixth-grader, said her group worked to “make the library colorful.” Her group’s media center also included an enclosed reading room with snack vending machines for quiet studying.

Melissa Holguin, 12 and in the same group, said their project was under budget by around $1,800, which would be helpful if materials came in more expensive than planned.

Caleigh Schmitt, a 12-year-old seventh-grader, said her group’s goal was simply “to make a space where (students) could use it a lot more than they do.” She thought the idea of putting students in charge of improving their own school “was really cool.”

“We took a survey and saw what the students wanted,” she said. “The students could put their ideas into it.”

Having had the projects presented to them, the panel of school officials and town employees will narrow the field to just two proposals. Those design pitches will then be brought back to the student body, where the proposals “will compete, and the school will vote on the one they like the best,” Farrell said.

The project that wins the popular vote will be built over the summer, according to Farrell.

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