Courtyard is usually forgotten
WEDS. | 06-08-22 | OPINION
The Rose courtyard is a lovely space in the center of the school with grass, trees and paths that people use to cut across the building and get to class faster. There are also wooden benches for students to sit on, and lots of other shrubbery to fill the space. It is a beautiful space that is completely enclosed by the walls of the school.
In the two years I have been at Rose, the space has been mostly neglected. In my experience, the Link Crew organization has used it for training a few times, and twice a teacher has let some students go outside and work on nice days. Other than those two instances, I have not found any other significant uses of the space.
I would love for the courtyard to be utilized to its highest potential, instead of neglecting it as just a walkway. There are many opportunities for the area,
Photo by Safi Waqas
especially as it is an enclosed and secure outdoor area. Students are not able to run out onto nearby busy streets, and teachers can easily watch over the entire area if needed. Its size is manageable enough to open it up to many different events.
One use of the courtyard could be to let science classes use it for labs and other learning opportunities. Classes like environmental science and biology could use the space to explore topics related to their curriculum, such as collecting different types of dirt, observing plant anatomy, collecting rainwater or even birdwatching. This would be easy to organize, as teachers will not have to leave campus and at most just let administrators know in advance that their class will be using the courtyard.
Another use of the courtyard could be during Refresh. If teachers held a session outdoors for kids to get some fresh air, that would be beneficial to their health and stress levels. It is a well-known fact that going outdoors and being in nature positively affects people, and the courtyard has a great opportunity to do so. Since Refresh can limit the number of people signed up for a session, teachers can make sure there is a manageable amount of kids outside so that it does not become too rowdy or overwhelming.
The courtyard could also be used during lunch or the academic breakfast to let some students eat outside. Previously, seniors were allowed to eat in the courtyard during lunch. I think that should definitely be brought back. Even if not all seniors could fit outside, I think at least allowing people on a first-come-first-served basis would let them blow off steam during stressful classes and college applications.
Lastly, the courtyard should be a space where students can grow their own plants. The JHR4Earth club propagates indoor plants annually to put in teachers' classrooms, but that club and other organizations could expand to larger plant-based endeavors if they had access to the courtyard to grow things. The garden could only be accessed by Rose students and staff since it is enclosed, and it gets large amounts of both sun and shade, making it perfect for different plant types.
Overall, the courtyard is a beautiful space full of potential for learning, growing and relaxing for Rose students and staff alike. With a little organization and communication between students, teachers and staff, the space could flourish into the beautiful epicenter of the school.