School News - Chumani Chamberlain

Parking at the Upper School Can Be a Lot!

          Oh, the infamous Upper School parking lot! A place of confusion, chaos, and sometimes frustration. As new and experienced drivers come onto campus morning after morning, parking spaces fill rapidly, and as the morning rush flies by some parking jobs are left half done, or even worse. I sat down with some members of our Upper School community to unpack some of these parking lot issues to gain a better understanding of what stems drivers’ frustrations. 

          Senior Halle Kunston described a parking experience she had on the Upper School campus, In February 2019 Halle was “running a little bit late to school and I parked in the last section of the junior lot by the two old brick walls and someone came in to get me in the middle of my last class and I was told that someone had driven a bus into one of the brick walls and the wall had fallen on the side of my car.” She continued by stating how “Mr. Mallet got me and he handled it really well, he brought me outside and inside of the car and a bunch of the bricks had hit the outside of the car and she had actually lost control of the bus and hit the wall...and the school used their insurance to cover the cost of the damage.” 

          Soon after her first situation Halle also drove into another incident in the Upper School Parking lot: “ I was also running a little bit late to school and I also tried to park in the junior lot and I have a pretty big car, I have a Dodge Durango so it’s an SUV, so I was trying to get into the spot and I was looking over my hood so I wasn’t gonna hit the car and I asked my sister to make sure the side of the car wasn’t going to hit the side of the other car and I ended up scraping the side of the car which happened to be Ms. McGuire’s car, so I hit that and I had to pull back out and there ended up being more damage.” Halle stated how she had a conversation with Ms. McGuire and that “everything ended up being ok.” 

          Halle, however, gained three takeaways from these chaotic yet different incidents and advises other drivers to take in this advice when parking at the Upper School:

  1. “Don’t be late to school because then you end up being rushed and you want to park in the school parking lot but then sometimes people park crookedly because they are being rushed. Basically, if you’re on time you will get a good parking spot”

  2. “Know what type of driver you are and know if you need a lot of time to park” 

  3. “If you do a bad parking job re-do it for the sake of helping other parkers”

          While Dean Mcguire confirmed there are not official junior and senior lots, she did explain however that culturally there is a divide amongst the two grades regarding the spaces in the parking lot. Further, Upper School Security Officer Mr. Ratliff said that if he recognizes a junior parking in the senior lot, he will kindly suggest they move to prevent any conflict between juniors seniors throughout the school year.

          Senior Ryan Vuono shared his experiences in the Upper School parking lot when two of his friends were involved in accidents on the Upper School campus, “I have had two friends who have both been hit and, for one of them, there was nothing left, no note left and the other friend, the person who hit them was driving away and someone had to stop them to tell them to leave note.” 

          Based on these experiences Ryan advises his fellow school community to “Leave a note. Because my friend who did not receive one had to pay for the damage out of his own pocket to fix it, and that seems like something that should not happen in our community, especially since people in our community know the right thing they are supposed to do.” He also suggested to parkers to not “be afraid to take your time, especially if there is a car behind you because they are perfectly fine to wait an extra 30 seconds that it might take to adjust.”

          I also sat down with junior Declan McCue who stated that he has never been involved or witnessed any parking incidents in the Upper School first hand he did advise juniors that “junior strip spots are tight and hard to pull into and out of. Be careful of hitting other cars with your car or the door.”

          Our three interviewees were also asked to give their opinion of juniors parking in the senior Lot, and while Halle and Ryan both stated that it is not junior’s place to park in the senior lot and how the senior Lot is “meant for seniors,” Declan has a different opinion on this ongoing conversation: “Some juniors have parked in the senior lot since day 1, similar to how current seniors did the same last year, but I’ve heard the juniors who have started parking there recently aren’t really welcome in the lot.” 

          Furthermore, when asked how hard it is to park in our parking lot on a scale of one to ten, Halle stated how our parking lot is a “7 for the juniors, because you’re parking at a weird angle, and for the senior lot it’s very narrow to get out of at the end of the school day.” 

          Declan stated, “Parking in the strip is hard, but backing into senior lot spots is really easy, sometimes pulling in straight can be hard when those around you don’t park well. 7/10 for the strip, 9/10 for senior lot.“

         Mr. Ratliff also shared the various parking incidents he has seen over the past couple of years. “I’ve seen a few over the years, and it usually involves when a student is backing out of a space and they don’t gauge the distance between the cars and will just scrape another car. And our students here are really good about leaving a note or something so somebody is aware. There was one accident last year that involved speed where a student was going too fast and tried to whip into a parking spot and of course struck the other vehicle.” 

          Mr. Ratliff also emphasized the importance of drivers keeping “their speed down on campus,” and when they are in the parking process to “just try and gauge the parking spot even if you have to back up and move forward a couple of times to get in there properly, because if one car is over top of the line then it can mess all of the other parking spaces up.”

          Finally, Mr. Ratliff left students with four pieces of advice:

  1. Be Patient

  2. Watch the speed

  3. Gauge your parking because it makes it easier for the next person

  4. Follow the rules for where to park