Staff lounge renovated, reopens(9/08)

on Sep 19, 08 • by Nancy Xie

Last spring, principal Andrew Ishibashi decided to plan the lounge as a surprise for the teachers and staff members. At the opening ceremony on June 19, Ishibashi named the room the Paul Lucey Staff Lounge to commemorate former teacher, counselor, assistant principal and Lowell Alumni Association executive director Lucey for his extraordinary commitment to the school for more than 50 years. “(Lucey) was very touched to see the room of his name,” current Lowell Alumni Association executive director Terry Abad said. “ He was very impressed and felt pleased to be remembered in that way.”
According to Parent Teacher Student Association president Debbie Gee-Wong, the PTSA helped Ishibashi fund the new furniture, which included a discounted sofa set from a hotel’s furniture sale, a porcelain vase, a cherry wood table and a traditional Japanese screen. “Mr. Ishibashi just wanted this to be a place where teachers can go to relax and chat with colleagues,” Lowell Alumni Association executive director Terence Abad said.
Teresa Bookwalter, the Visual and Performing Arts department head and drama teacher, planned to spend some of her free time in the new lounge. “It’s so nice to have something aesthetically pleasing,” she said.
Many staff members have enjoyed the new lounge. Michael Yi, the new assistant principal in charge of building and grounds, first visited the lounge in August at a staff meeting. Ishibashi had even prepared a barbeque for his staff in the lounge. “(Ishibashi) was as excited as a kid,” Yi said.
Other faculty members shared her views. “This is a serious effort on the part of the administration to make the faculty more comfortable here,” English department head and English teacher Svein Arber said.
In a nostalgic moment at the opening ceremony, Lucey, who was known to wear a red sports jacket at every alumni reunion and meeting, “officially” took off the jacket and presented it to Abad as an informal token of recognition of his successor. “I promised him that I’ll wear it several times for the Alumni Association,” Abad said.
The old faculty lounge, a small and windowless workroom located between the catwalk and the art wing, is now the workroom is a storage room for old files. “(The new lounge) is a huge step up from the old lounge,” Arber added. “It was a pretty grim place.”

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