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EMS lounge Makeover enjoyed by teachers

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By Mary Barczak

 MOUNT WASHINGTON -- Eastside Middle School teachers finally have a place to call their own. 

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Teachers, staff, students and community members gathered recently for the unveiling of the Ultimate Teacher’s Lounge. Eastside was selected to receive the prize after weeks of voting online. The contest was sponsored by SummitMedia which owns:Lite 106.9, 107.7 The Eagle, New Country Q103.1 and Country Legends 103.9.

Seventh grade social studies teacher Peggy Newkirk nominated the school for a new teacher’s lounge last month because their old one is now being utilized as the “Hard Work Cafe” -- or student lounge.

They were using an old classroom for their lounge. Newkirk said a lot of teachers wouldn’t even go to the “lounge” for their break because it wasn’t anything special so they would eat in their rooms with their teams. 

Her hope was that if they won the contest, it would be a good way for all of the teachers to socialize again because they missed it.

And they got their wish.

The lounge is decked out in bright colors with recliners, a sink, microwave, refrigerator, tables and a meeting space.

Eighth grade teacher Kim Green said she loves how welcoming the room is.

“It’s beautiful and so relaxing-looking,” she said. “We didn’t want to come in (the lounge) to eat lunch before because we ate at cafeteria tables.”

But her favorite part is the dishwasher and the working coffee pot. She said it was a big hassle before to have functions in the old lounge and then have a ton of dirty dishes left over.

Eighth grade teacher Kathy Leming said she’s really excited about the space.

“I think it’s awesome, I can’t wait to have a meeting in here,” she said. “We’re going to be in here a lot.”

As a thank you for all of their help with voting, Principal Bonita Franklin plans to update the student lounge as well by adding a foosball table and a countertop.

She was aglow with pride for the school’s accomplishment.

Franklin said the teachers really deserve the new space, but she’s glad they’ll also be able to utilize the lounge for meetings as well.

“We wanted it to be something nice for the teachers but also something for the community,” she said.