H3 Room: New Space Gives Students a Chance to Recharge

by Cara Finney and Olivia Noland, February 2018


While on your way to the office or class, you may have noticed a new and improved office for Mr. Calvin Johnson, Dean of Students, featuring bean bags, a beautifully painted mural, and soft rain sounds. This new room will be referred to as the “H3 Room,” and officially opened to students on Tuesday, February 13th. The main goal of the new space, according to Mr. Johnson, is “to have a restorative conversation to get yourself back on track to get back in the classroom.”

SONY DSCThe Dean of Students, who has “been a police officer for 22 years, as well as a supervisor,” claims that the room will be used widely to better the attitudes of students. He explains, “You come down here and we have a lot of different [sensory items] and stuff that takes away anxiety and built up pressures and stuff like that. Plus you have me, I’m gonna sit here and talk to you and ask you what’s going on in your life. You know, what got you in this situation, and how can we get you back and have a restorative conversation.”

Johnson knows how much ongoing issues and stress can affect impressionable students, and hopes this room will be able to help. “I’ve seen a lot of things happen out in the real world that can translate and be brought into the classroom. So the main thing is to get back on a restorative nature, and get things back to where they were before they broke.” He adds, “My personal goal is to make this one of the cutting edge things that just turn the face of discipline around.”


Ms. Landers supervises the mural painting

The H3 Room, along with many other amicable features, includes a calming mural of mountains, painted by the Advanced Painting and Drawing class, along with volunteer Jaysen Young, and supervised by Deer Park’s new art teacher, Ms. Landers. It was Ms. Landers who chose what painting would be used. “Not only did I want a beautiful image for our school’s H3 Room,” she explains, “But one that could feasibly be executed in a timely and skillful manner. Creating collaboratively is always rewarding and challenging; much like the experience of climbing a mountain itself.”


The Advanced Painting and Drawing class executed her plan well in a short span of time, knowing the deadline was the opening of the new H3 Room. Ms. Landers had “teams of students on an assigned rotation to take their turn painting the wall. It started out with the students drawing the outline on the wall using only chalk, and then painting it layer by layer after that.”


Students paining lofiThe participating students went above and beyond simply painting the mural, however. As Ms. Landers pridefully recounts, “My Advanced Painting and Drawing students worked hard to complete this mural in a timely manner. From coming in during their X bell to paint, and even staying after school to continue. I am so proud of them for giving up their own time for the betterment of others.”

Ms. Landers has faith that her choice in mural designs will positively affect the student body, which is clear as she describes what she believes the meaning of the H3 Room is: “The heart behind the H3 Room is to provide a space for students to be refreshed and rejuvenated; likewise is the vision behind the mountain mural. Mountains for me have always been the personification of adventure, peace, and challenge. “The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there,” said Vince Lombardi ( Washington, Redskins football coach 1969). Whether the mural provokes reflection, or it’s simply something pleasant to rest our eyes on, I am happy with either.”


The participating students from the Advanced Painting and Drawing class themselves have faith that this room will have positive effects as well. Senior participant Alex Conover believes the room itself is a good idea, as it “gives a place for students to go instead of having other teachers in ISS.” When asked about the mural specifically, he adds “I feel like it will calm them. It’s very calming I guess. I mean it changes colors. It’s very simple so it’s not super crazy to where you’d get overwhelmed. It’s very simple.”


SONY DSCThe H3 Room, which is “available to every student in this building,” is, according to Mr. Johnson, already impacting the student body. Mr. Johnson explains that “We have positive people come down here who like to utilize some of the things we have in here, they think it’s pretty cool to have it in the school. And then we also have people who need it, to utilize it and get back on track. So it works two fold. I just hope that everybody partakes and uses it to their advantage.”


Johnson adds that to him, student’s use of the room is a priority. “Just make sure we utilize it. Come down and find out what it’s about.”

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