Scholarship entry from:
William Connor Bentley
Mendota High School
School District 280
Humans have always needed spaces in which to exist. Forests, for hunting and foraging, streams, lakes, rivers and oceans for fishing and swimming, caves for sleeping and painting the walls. Our first architect was nature. Then, humans started to settle down, made farms to grow food, man made tents and shacks to live in instead of the caves. In the modern day, most people spend almost all of their time indoors, somewhere likely designed by a human architect. I personally spend a lot of time in my school, and within my school, there’s few spots I’ve spent as much time as the band room and the hallway outside of it. Between the adjoined practice rooms, the attached hallway, and the main band room itself, these spaces have given me many great memories and served their purposes well.
Within the band room at MHS, there are 6 smaller spaces, each with its door or set of doors. Known as B1-6, these are the band practice rooms. Each room is fairly typical for the school, with the standard white tile floor and flat walls, and each is, at my best estimate, 1/3rd to 1/8th the size of a typical classroom. This means that not only are they great for individual student practice, but also storage for things such as percussion equipment or tubas. My favorite memories from the practice rooms are mostly certainly having new percussionists find the light switch in B1, as it’s hidden by an empty section in a shelf of the music library.
Another great space used by the band is the hallway outside of the band room. It also uses the standard white tiling, but the walls, as opposed to the blocks which make up most of the school, are slightly bumpy, presumably for better noise distribution. This allows small groups of students to practice here without issue. It also has two drinking fountains, something which would be a massive blessing, but they’ve not worked since I’ve been at MHS. This space also brought me what was probably my greatest joy throughout band, the end of marching band books, where those associated with the band could leave messages to each other. These are things I hope to keep for years. Last, but certainly not least, the band room itself. Featuring built in risers, a ramp for moving percussion equipment, and highly bumpy walls for noise dispersion (and occasionally back scratching), this room is excellent. Between all the classes, after school practices, and work on my own, I’m not sure I could pick a favorite memory from here, but watching everyone after my last pep band game is up there.
Overall, the band room and the hallway outside of it is my favorite part of MHS. These spaces do all of their many jobs incredibly well, and have allowed for some of my best highschool memories to happen. My highschool experience simply would not have been the same if it weren’t for at least one good architect.