Seniors suffer from early case of “Empty Nest”

Recently, due to a lack of appropriate upkeep, the upperclassmen gathering place "The Nest" has been closed. Here's why, and, how to get it back.

Emily D'Amico, Managing Editor

Prior to break, faculty and administration noticed that students, primarily seniors, had been leaving trash behind after lunch and cookie breaks, and the consequences are starting to catch up with the seniors.  Throughout first semester, the sight of used used Tupperware, soiled utensils, empty wrappers, and old leftover food was common place during sixth period, following the lunch bell.  It had become apparent that maintaining the public space was becoming an issue.

Seniors gradually noticed the furniture in The Nest slowly starting to disappear, starting with the tables and the stools that go with them. As time went on, administration left notes on the Nest’s bulletin board with pictures of the trash left behind, printed out with the date, as well as a couple of signs asking the seniors not to move the black chairs that reside under the stairways leading up to the library.

Olivia Elisha
The Nest, as of January 7th, 2019, has no furniture for the seniors to lounge in during their free time.

The Nest, which was a senior gift from the class of 2017 to be a designated gathering space for the seniors, was originally designed to have the high-top tables with matching stools, some seating, a coffee table, as well as a mini fridge and a Keurig coffee machine.

“The class of 2019 have the chance to take advantage of this senior privilege,” said Upper School Director Mr. Forrester, “but with this right comes the responsibility to keep the area well maintained and make sure that the rubbish is placed in the appropriate receptacles. [Also] keep the furniture neat and tidy and where it’s meant to be, and maintain a level of calm.”

Forrester continued, “Mrs. Conn and I have noticed, at different points, particularly after break and lunch time, there was less care taken about the clean up. There were dirty wrappers, there were non-recyclables in the recyclable bins, things along those lines. We discussed what we felt would be an appropriate response, which was that if you can’t maintain the furniture, then you don’t get to use that furniture, so we’ve taken away some of the items.”

Students who usually ate in the area during lunch started to battle for the few seats that had remained, rushing out of class to grab their lunches and snag a seat before they were gone.

Prior to the winter break, The Gauntlet staff spoke with Rena Parent, a senior who was hard at work in the Nest during her study hall.

We discussed what we felt would be an appropriate response, which was that if you can’t maintain the furniture, then you don’t get to use that furniture, so we’ve taken away some of the items.”

— Mr. Forrester

“It’s not fair to those of us who actually clean up our mess,” said Parent. “There’s literally five chairs, and the rest of us just sit on the ground.”

Unfortunately, not everyone was cleaning up their mess, however, and the Nest has a very central, visible location on campus.  When it’s a mess, people notice.

Mrs. Marcia Schumann, the Director of College Counseling at Saint Stephen’s, has her office right across from The Nest, so she has a pretty good view of what had been going on.

Regarding the Nest’s presentation after meals, Schumann reported, “It was kind of embarrassing when we had college representatives visiting after cookie break or lunch,” Schumann said. “It didn’t represent the best of Saint Stephen’s when it was that dirty and food was left behind.”

The loss of the furniture and space has been unfortunate, and the seniors remain hopeful that the chairs and tables will some day return.  The Nest was a nice meeting point, where seniors had been gathering during meals, before and after school, as well as during study hall.

As for seniors who have voiced concerns about the furniture being taken away, saying it was a “gift for the class,” Mr. Forrester said, “Each time a class gives a gift, they give the gift to the school. That means that we, as the school, get to determine what’s [going to] happen with [the gift].”

He added that he originally had been looking at new furniture for the Nest. Going forward, according to administration, there are active talks taking place between senior leadership and administrators to come up with plan to bring the Nest back. Administration is confident that a workable compromise will be met soon.  Stay tuned.