TEACHERS TREATED TO LOUNGE MAKEOVER AT HOVSEPIAN SCHOOL IN PASADENA
By James Figueroa
May 15 2012
PASADENA – St. Gregory A.&M. Hovsepian School had its own version of
“Extreme Makeover” last week, the teachers lounge edition.
Parents and board members from the small Armenian school chipped in
funds and volunteered their time, surprising teachers by renovating
the lounge with a paint job, new furniture and upgraded appliances.
It all culminated in teacher appreciation day as the teachers came
to work May 7 to discover their new home away from home.
“They were just shocked, they couldn’t believe it,” said parent
Aline Boulgourjian, who chaired the project. “Just the morale has
been amazing in the school in the last week.”
Teachers say they are using the lounge far more often than they did
previously, happy to have a coffee machine, a water cooler, a laptop
and a functioning microwave.
The room also has a relaxing atmosphere, with a new sofa set, various
photos of the teachers with students and a small water fountain. An
inspirational note painted on the wall reads: “A teacher takes a hand,
opens a mind, and touches a heart.”
“I love it. It’s the perfect place to unwind, and just have a little
bit of personal time,” teacher Armig Matosian said. “It’s so nice to
be in there now.”
Boulgourjian managed to coordinate the project without using tuition
funds, instead relying on donations and fundraising.
Eight members of the school’s board, including Principal Shahe
Mankerian, donated $250 each
for the effort. The Parent Teacher Organization also raised money
through a bake sale.
“The really amazing thing was how everyone came together,” Boulgourjian
said. “The whole parents, community, even alumni just pitched in,
gave their time, gave their money, whatever they could give.”
Mankerian said he was just as surprised to see the final result as
the teachers were.
“The beauty of this whole thing is the teachers never asked for it,”
Previously, the lounge was drab and rundown, with an old, rusting
refrigerator and frayed couches. The microwave didn’t work, and there
was little reason to use it.
“It was a typical teachers lounge at any private or public school,
neglected on some level, things had been just dumped there over the
years,” Mankerian said.
Project organizers convinced teachers to stay out of the room in the
days before the makeover by claiming there was a mold problem.
“People were going in and out measuring windows and trying to figure
out how to make the furniture fit in the room,” Boulgourjian said. “We
had to keep them away.”
With the improvements, teachers now find themselves with an inviting
place to get their morning coffee.
“Now we don’t want to leave,” teacher Maro Shahinian said.