(COVINGTON, La.) — As the sun sets on summer break, another school year rises from its ashes for the students of St. Paul’s school, bringing with it renovations to Benilde Hall, additions to staff, and changes in schedule. An interview with the principal of St. Paul’s, Mr. Trevor Watkins, sheds light on all of these topics.
Benilde Hall, a building constructed decades ago, is currently in the process of renovation, but classes can still be held.
“We recently met our first goal, which was to have the second and third floors occupiable,” Watkins explained. New classrooms will be outfitted with large-display presentation TV’s in order to facilitate learning. Several windows will illuminate the classes and give them an open, airy feeling. Additionally, the finished building will contain several facilities such as a media center, state of the art computer labs and classrooms, outdoor areas for club meetings, a PJ’s Coffee, tutoring spaces, and lounge areas. Watkins went on to say, “I’m very anxious to get it open; we’re anticipating around mid-September.”
With new classrooms being built there must also be new teachers to fill them- nature abhors a vacuum after all. As such, seven new teachers were hired: Randall Ford (Science), David Simon (Math), Joe David Wilkerson (Math), Gordon Carmadelle (Fine Arts and Social Studies), Lauren Gee (Core Pack), Carla Barwick (Core Pack), and Fred Escher (Religion). On the topic of these new employs, Watkins said “I am very pleased with our new faculty; they come with a myriad of experiences. We have a very professional and well-trained group of men and women who will be a very positive addition to our staff.” Collectively (and some individually), these teachers have experience teaching every level of education, bringing to the classroom a plethora of knowledge and teaching techniques. With that being said, everyone at St. Paul’s is eager to see these educators thrive in the classroom.
Finally, there is the business of the time change in the St. Paul’s schedule. St. Paul’s will now start school at 8:00 a.m. instead of 7:45 a.m., a decision influenced by studies on teenage sleep patterns.
Watkins said, “Studies have shown that every little bit of sleep counts towards making the teenage brain ready for the day ahead of it. Even just fifteen minutes more sleep a day has a positive effect on awareness- essentially how well a student will function in school. Our biggest concern in regard to changing the start time is traffic patterns, which we have spent a few years studying. We talked to the chief of police, city council members, pediatricians and more, and ultimately decided that whatever issues that may arise due to traffic were not as essential as making sure that our students were rested and healthy.” It is quite clear that St. Paul’s administration is committed to its students well-being with this new change.
St. Paul’s is a dynamic school with an enthusiastic faculty and administration, so these changes are assured not to be the last of the year. With this in mind, everyone at St. Paul’s is eagerly anticipating what’s to come next.