Scholarship entry from:

Nyla Gimza

Richards High School

School District 218

Richards High School in Oak Lawn is a criminally underrated school. As someone who has been attending the school for four years, I can ensure that the architecture within it does not get enough credit for how much it positively impacts the learning environment.

Before I became a freshman, Richards had the privilege of having a new theater built. This theater seats over 500 people and includes wheelchair accessible seats. Between the seats are aisles that are large enough for performers to walk through for choreography or crowd interaction. There are LED lights that hang higher up on the sides of the walls. These lights change color and brightness and influence the mood necessary for whatever activities-whether it be study halls, ceremonies, school musicals or more-are being held. If someone has to step out of the theater but does not want to miss what is happening, there is a large TV with comfortable cushions around it in the lobby that streams what is happening on stage. Because of this theater, students who use it for study halls have more than enough room to work on their own or in groups without disturbance. Additionally, the entire community has a beautifully built place to watch performances. Being able to comfortably watch others in such a large space has created a stronger community and has made my experiences more memorable.

Another upgrade Richards has been implementing throughout the school within the past few years are smart boards or TVs in the front of the classroom. School ipads and computers are allowed to connect to these screens, creating a simple but efficient way for students and teachers to broadcast lessons, videos, or presentations while simultaneously using our dry-erase painted walls to write extra notes. These features have helped my class and I learn because lessons catered to reading/writing, kinesthetic, auditory, and visual learners are all available.

The brilliance behind my school’s architecture can be expanded outside of classrooms and into the hallways as well. The natural light from the large windows creates a calming and warm aura and reduces the potential of annoyance from the bright ceiling lights. If there is not a window, there is colorful paint or decorations made by current students. The paint consists of our school colors and is a constant reminder you are a part of a community that cares about your education and wellbeing. The decorations are educational or advocate for current clubs and events. Nonetheless, they add a positive and welcoming energy to the school’s environment.

The spacious areas, advancing technology, and energetic or calming atmospheres are just the beginning of what the architecture at Richards High School offers. All of these features plus more are why I was given so many opportunities to learn and explore my options. It has helped me prepare for college by teaching me to keep an open mind and experiment. Because of that, I am truly grateful I got to experience my four years as a student here.