Middle school students with a creative flair are taking their talents to the inside of their lockers and customizing the spaces in some surprising ways.
Seventh-graders Ashley Jones and Hannah Rahner, both 12, have decorated their lockers at Forestbrook Middle School in a decidedly feminine fashion, featuring prominent shades of pink and hanging chandeliers.
“I found the chandelier when I was looking for school supplies,” said Ashley, who said she didn’t decorate as much last year. “I just thought I’d jazz it up a bit.”
Ashley’s locker features a shelf, which allows her to place books and her lunchbox on the bottom and her book bag on top. She can slide the chandelier back and forth as needed when she needs to look at the mirror on the locker’s back wall, readjust magnets – one of which holds a photo – or just fit more into the space. A pencil holder on the inside of the door holds tissues, a brush and hairspray for quick touchups between classes.
Ashley said a lot of her friends put in shelves, magnets and pictures to personalize their lockers. While she purchased her shelf last year, Ashley said she made additions to the decor with items from a locker kit that she found at Wal-Mart.
Hannah’s locker is a symphony of pink and purple with items she assembled from various stores, such as Wal-Mart, Books-A-Million and the Dollar Store. In addition to a chandelier and shelf, the back of her locker is lined with floral wallpaper, and various magnets are placed around the space. A beaded curtain of pink, purple and black discs hangs from the top, while a pink, shag carpet lines the bottom, and a magnetic hand sanitizer is within easy reach from inside the door.
“My father had to put up the wallpaper at open house, and he put it up with magnets,” said Hannah, who said when she saw the wallpaper, she knew she had to have it. She opted for the flower pattern, however, because she felt others, like one with black or pink curls, would be way too busy.
The decorations stay strictly inside the locker, and nothing is used that might cause damage. Hannah said she learned her lesson last year when she put stickers on the inside walls, and a custodian had to help scrape them off at the end of the year.
Principal April Scott said decorating the lockers is a cool idea that “they took to a new level.” Their efforts impressed math teacher Ashley Best so much that suggested they could give locker makeovers to other students.
“I wish I was this cool when I was in middle school. They could start their own business,” Best said.
Administrators at other schools say they haven’t seen an increase in this locker decor, but personalization is part of the middle school experience.
“I’ve seen posters and mirrors and other things that are bedazzled, although chandeliers … That’s a new one on me,” said Robert Hamby, assistant principal at Black Water Middle School.
Kurt Lundgren, assistant principal at Ocean Bay Middle School, said he’s seen the folding shelves that help maximize space in the lockers, but nothing extreme has drawn attention.
“Generally speaking, this has been going on as long as there have been lockers,” Lundgren said. “They do try to give it a more personal touch, and certainly we support that. I think the kids are allowed a little creativity within certain bounds.”
Lauri Wood, career specialist at St. James Middle School, said teachers and administrators haven’t seen more decoration this year than in the past, but it seems girls are more prone to the activity than boys.
“I think it’s more the novelty and the newness as a sixth-grader,” said Wood, who said those students are getting lockers for the first time, and there is angst about keeping their new area organized, as well as remembering the combination to their lock.
“By the time they hit eighth grade, you don’t see much of that; they’re not as interested,” Wood said.
Contact VICKI GROOMS at 443-2401 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_VickiGrooms.