The Beautification Project Revamps Gables Classrooms


Courtesy of Madame Rouit

FHS member volunteers painted Mr. Nelson’s classroom after waiting two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laura Ridoux, Managing Editor

The French Honor Society has been making it a yearly goal to repaint at least one classroom at Coral Gables Senior High School. This project is known as the Classroom Beautification Project and is fully sponsored by FHS. The initial goal was to finish painting all the foreign language classes but has now been expanded to include the classrooms in the 9000 building.

This all started when Madame Rouit, the French teacher and chair of the Foreign Languages department, came to Gables five years ago. The summer before she started her first year, she saw her classroom and knew that it needed to be spiced up with some fresh color. Rouit ended up painting it by herself in a Barbie pink color. When she became department chair, Rouit decided to do the same thing with the rest of the foreign language classrooms.

In October of 2017, the first classroom to be painted was room 9223 belonging to Ms. Battisti, the Italian teacher at the time but now Spanish, who chose a light apple green. The room is now home to Ms. Chacon, who teaches Italian. The following month, they revamped Spanish teacher Ms. Castillo’s classroom by painting it light yellow. The final project of the 2017-2018 school year was Ms. Garcia’s classroom in April of 2018, and it was painted a light orange color.

“[The classrooms] were all sad and drab and uninspiring so I decided to turn it into an FHS CAS project experience,” Madame Rouit said.

Through FHS, juniors Brianna Babani and Sam Sommer took the opportunity to make this beautification their Creativity, Activity and Service project as it is an International Baccalaureate program requirement. Other IB juniors who are FHS members use this beautification as a CAS experience which aids them as they might not have any experiences logged yet. Additionally, community service hours are also available to help Cavaliers meet their graduation requirements.

Each classroom beautification follows the same process. First, students sign up during an FHS meeting that designates the date, time and classroom of the project. On a Friday, the volunteers prepare the designated classroom from 2:30 to 5 p.m. for the painting, which occurs the following day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“I think it’s a great idea on the part of FHS to do this. I love the thought of having a beautiful learning environment to thrive in, rather than boring white classrooms that can be very devoid of life at times. Seeing colorful walls brings me joy and it enlivens my mood, allowing me to be more attentive in class and ready to learn. This project should definitely go on for as long as possible because it truly is a great concept,” sophomore Steffi Sarmiento-Mena said.

In terms of funding, Friends of Gables High donated a total of $400 to the beautification project back in 2019. Due to the pandemic, another project was not commenced right away and the money was reserved for future projects. As students returned to campus, FHS was eager to use these funds to enhance the school’s image.

Mr. Nelson’s classroom painting was the first project done after COVID-19 first hit. He has been waiting approximately two years as, initially, his room in 9310 was supposed to be done pre-pandemic. The Psychology and Theory of Knowledge teacher chose a baby blue color for two walls of his room and the rest was painted ivory. Mr. Nelson’s classroom is the first to be painted that is not a foreign language one.

“[In the future], we hope to revamp and freshen up as many classrooms as possible, but we have to be careful because it might not be possible in the whole school because in other parts of the school, especially in the older ones, the ceilings are a lot higher so in the 9000 building it works out but in the 2000 building getting up, all the way up to the ceiling, might be a problem,” Madame Rouit said.

As this project will continue for years to come, more classrooms in the 9000 building are planned to be renovated. Ms. Landsea and Mr. Miller have requested a classroom revamp, but the next room is yet to be decided.

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  • Students paint meticulously to make sure nothing drips or accidentally gets painted.

  • Madame Rouit pours the paint on the tray so that students with painting rollers can even it out smoothly along the walls.

  • Students preparing Mr. Nelson’s room to paint.

  • Madame Rouit’s room the summer before she started teaching at Gables.

  • Madame Rouit’s room after painting her classroom.