Scholarship entry from:

Natalia Ciesla

Lemont Township High School

Lemont Township High School District 210

Before experiencing life as a student during a pandemic, I had never imagined how much the architecture surrounding me could affect my education. Trying to learn online during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic was detrimental to my academics and has made me realize the impact that architecture has on your learning. As a senior this 2022 school year, I was very lucky to have been able to experience my last year of high school in a school setting and extremely fortunate to utilize the exceptional environment that Lemont High School creates through their outstanding layout of each classroom and space. Two specific places in Lemont High School that have helped me thrive as a student are the Center for Academic and Vision Excellence (CAVE) and the CITGO Innovation Academy (CITGO IA).

The composition of both locations in my school allows me to excel as a student because it gives me the ability to easily collaborate with my peers as well as gives me the opportunity to be productive when necessary. The CAVE is a classroom in which students can approach whenever they need an extra hand with school work and be on task. What makes the CAVE stand out from an ordinary classroom is its seating arrangements. Every seat in the CAVE has wheels that make collaborating a breeze. Moreover, many of the seats are cushioned allowing students to feel comfortable and relaxed when doing their work. The CAVE is separated into two rooms being divided by a wall containing a large window. Having this window separating both rooms in the CAVE makes the room feel more open and bright. This room is also filled with whiteboards, projectors, printers, and school materials that benefit the students ability to learn. In addition to the CAVE, the CITGO IA is considered the hot spot at Lemont High School due to its high energy and lively atmosphere. The CITGO IA is our school library; it received its name from the CITGO Oil Refinery who sponsored its fairly new renovations. Designed with a variety of bright colors including green, orange, purple, and blue, its modern style radiates a positive working environment. The CITGO IA is furnished with easy-to-move chairs, tables, and couches that make it convenient when wanting to either collaborate with a group or stay focused individually. One of my favorite aspects of the CITGO IA is the amount of natural light that enters the area. The enormous windows lined down an entire wall makes students feel awake and ready to learn. What sets Lemont High School’s library apart from others is the readily available green screen rooms and 3D printer that enables students to spark creativity in their school work. Together, these learning spaces and their detailed structure have made my high school career not only enjoyable, but has made me academically successful. Both settings allowed me to experience freedom and attain responsibility which will be carried with me for the rest of my life.