The New and Improved Student Study Center at MHS

Routinely, Malden High School students swarm into their homerooms at the 7:45 bell. They await the “absent teachers list”; it determines their fate, whether they will be attending all their classes or rejoice in having at least one free period in what was formerly known as “Big Study.”

Unlike many traditional high schools, Malden High does not have substitutes for absent teachers, which means that the lucky few who find themselves with a free period will be making their way down to room H102, a change in scenery from the gallery, where Big Study was previously located. The gallery is being liberated, finally being used for its original purpose: to display student art.

Choral Art Society meets with two guest music teacher at the gallery. Photo by Camille Nommi.

According to Principal Chris Mastrangelo, the use of the gallery had been an ongoing conversation for years. Mastrangelo says that that space was ¨never meant to be used [as a study]” but rather used ¨to display artwork, sports, theatre and music awards.¨ The space was used out of necessity because the school did not have enough funding to hire substitutes to supervise students when teachers were absent.

The change in location for what is now the Student Study Center became especially necessary as a security measure. The gallery had no locks on any of the doors and students could leave and depart freely. Last year, Paula Valente, who runs the Student Study Center, expressed that she felt very unsafe that she ran a room with big windows and no locks by herself, a room which was frequently occupied by over a hundred students.

In addition to the Big Study being unsafe, students were able to leave the Big Study whenever they pleased making it harder for Valente to know where students were at all times.

When Valente found out that she would not be holding the study in the gallery anymore, she was pleased. Valente expressed that holding the study in the Gallery meant having to ¨take care of the courtyard, while making sure students[did] not leave.” In addition, Valente asserts that she is content with the new Student Study Center for now. She expressed that although ¨it is a bit of a walk for some students,¨ she likes that the room is enclosed and that if anything were to happen, she could have her room on lock down successfully and quickly.

Students have expressed mixed feelings about the new Student Study Center. Junior Sebastian Blanc, when asked how he felt about the Student Study Center, expressed that he likes the space and that the new room is ¨a reasonable place to study.” In addition, Blanc expressed that this new room will be more efficient because at anytime if a student were to leave, they would have to address Valente because there is only one door to go in and out of the classroom.

Paula Valente prepares the room for the students arriving next period. Photo by Camille Nommi.

Senior Alexia Jones expressed that she finds the space quite confining. Jones added that on days where a lot of teachers are absent, it is hard to even find a seat in order to get to work. Nevertheless, she did acknowledge that in the new Student Study Center initiative is being taken to track down the location of students.

Principal Mastrangelo says that for now Mary Liberge is willing to have students go up to the library if it is too crowded in the Student Study Center. Mastrangelo hopes that in the future there will be two rooms where the Study Center can be held. Ideally, he would love for there to be substitutes but for now he realizes that the school does not have enough funding yet.

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