West Ranch High School teachers, staff and administrators received a pleasant surprise at the school’s staff lounge Thursday morning.
Charlotte Kim, a rising senior at West Ranch, introduced the group of nearly 100 education professionals to a fully updated lounge, which was full of breakfast foods and fresh coffee Thursday for the faculty and staff excited for a day of preparation before the start of the new school year.
Kim designed, managed and implemented the makeover of the school’s lounge for her Girl Scouts Gold Award project, according to her troop leader Alia Marks.
“When my Girl Scout troop leader said we should do our project on what we are passionate about, you all came to mind,” Kim said, addressing the school’s faculty and staff. “I wanted to make a place where you all can relax and feel safe.”
Despite the pandemic, she said, all of her teachers, who she thanked in her welcome remarks, “brought a positive energy to the class.”
“I can’t wait to peek in the staff lounge every time I pass by to see my teachers, administrators, counselors and staff members hopefully enjoying the space,” she said. “Thanks for giving me an opportunity to pay back my gratitude to you.”
Kim was joined by Marks, Principal Mark Crawford, school Office Manager Mia Reed, and Maintenance Custodian John Barnett during her remarks to teachers and staff. She thanked each of them, including Barnett, who she said supported her while she assembled furniture, painted walls and hammered nails for the first time.
“Being able to teach kids like that is something I’m good at,” Barnett said, noting he enjoyed putting his mark on the school through this project. “It was fun to help her.”
Kim also thanked her parents, who helped her fundraise for the lounge makeover.
“Without the donors, I would not have been able to attempt, let alone complete this project,” she said, giving a special shout-out to her dad, the project’s biggest donor.
Troop leader Marks, a parent of two former West Ranch students, said the school’s teachers deserve the best.
“I know that you all deserve this wonderful space,” she told the teachers and staff. “It warms my heart to know that Charlotte saw a need to help you all and pursued it.”
Todd Arrowsmith, an economics teacher at West Ranch, called the new lounge “beautiful,” noting that the lounge had not been improved in the school’s 17-year history.
“It was a very cold place to go so there wasn’t a lot of people that would use it,” he said. “Charlotte’s done an amazing job making it feel like home and it’s going to be a place I think that a lot more teachers will start using because of the friendly atmosphere of it.”
Chemistry teacher Shawn Zeringue described the new space as “wonderful.”
“It’s a warm, inviting space for teachers to collaborate and build relationship,” she said. “It’s something that we definitely needed on campus.”
Julie Blanco, the school attendance technician, said Kim’s hard work paid off.
“It’s looking really nice in there and her vision and thoughts are clearly demonstrated in everything that she did,” she said.