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Tornado Alley purpose being fulfilled

By Sabrina Conza, Editor in Chief, and Nicolas Gallardo, Graphic Design Editor

Tornado Alley, previously called the media center, was remodeled this past summer and became a place where students could spend time educationally.

According to Principal Thomas, the media center was redone to increase foot-traffic by students for educational purposes.

“(The purpose was) so that we could have kids, first of all go to the media center, second, really enjoy reading,” Principal Thomas said. “This was the core bottom line is that kids weren’t reading in the media center, you know, they don’t use books, like you don’t have to read from a book, you can read from your phone, your iPad, and yet no one was making use of that.”

Now that Tornado Alley has been in use for over six months, Principal Thomas believes that the purpose is being fulfilled.

“So with the new media center, anytime I go in there, there are kids and some of them are reading,” Principal Thomas said. “So, I think it’s fulfilling its purpose.”

Media secretary Ms. Estrella believes that the media center serves the purpose of inspiring students.

“The purpose of the media center is to provide an inviting, contemporary environment where students are inspired to learn using all the resources it offers,” Ms. Estrella wrote in an email. “This environment also fosters collaborative study and promotes engagement among students.”

Senior Eri Vishka, a daily visitor to the media center, believes that the purpose is more about promoting a community of scholars.

“To me, the central purpose of the media center is to bring together students who have a scholarly mindset and have them interact with the center’s resources to progress their studies,” Vishka said.

Junior Nataly Chalco finds that the media center is much improved since last year.

“I think that this year the media center is more ‘study friendly,’” Chalco said. “The open environment in there really allows you to sit down and get organized with your textbooks and homework, which was something that we didn’t have last year.”

While Tornado Alley is open from 6:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., students can’t just come in without a reason.

“Everybody is allowed, as long as they have a pass or as part of a class,” Ms. Estrella wrote.

Principal Thomas agrees that the media center is for students to work on educational pursuits.

“It does make sense that you need to come to the media center for a purpose,” Principal Thomas said. “It’s not like coming to hang out. It’s not a hangout place. It’s there for people to use for educational purposes.”

Students who come during lunch, like Chalco, cannot eat in Tornado Alley.

“You cannot go and get lunch from the cafeteria and bring it in,” Principal Thomas said. “So we have the cafeteria and lunch is not allowed, but you can bring a snack or something, that’s fine.”

Ms. Estrella has specific foods that she allows in the media center.

“Students can have snacks, finger foods, and covered drinks except when using the media center’s electronics, like computers, laptops, and iPads, then no eating or drinking is allowed,” Ms. Estrella wrote.

One improvement from last year is that more students are using the laptops and desktops to get their work done during lunch and free periods, according to Vishka and Chalco.

However, students are not allowed in the media center when they are supposed to be off campus.

“Technically, students who have dual enrollment shouldn’t be on campus,” Principal Thomas said. “So, because you shouldn’t be here, you can see how you couldn’t be in the media center. Part of the whole dual enrollment piece is that you’re taking a class off campus, so you shouldn’t be on campus during a time when you should be off campus.”

The renovation of the media center into Tornado Alley cost the school “about $150,000,” according to Mr. Thomas, who also said that “most of the money was from our budget.”

Posted: Mar. 13

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