Beautifying our School: One Tree at a Time


Students eat lunch under limited shade. Photo by Jovana Centeno.

Jovana Centeno, Photography Editor

In the past, changes were made to West High’s appearance. These changes included new buildings, new teachers and recently, a new marquee. With all of these improvements happening before us, it is time to give the landscaping some love. We have vacant space for all kinds of plants and a supportive, caring staff, which could give our landscaping the potential to transform from sufficient to breathtaking.

If we were to compare West High’s campus with a college campus, the first noticeable difference would be the priority each has on their appearance. College campuses tend to be well-groomed, bright and inviting compared to lackluster high school campuses. Since school is for education, it may seem like a waste of time and money to be putting so much effort into the landscaping as opposed to the other areas it can improve. So why do almost all colleges have this emphasis on appearance?

Colleges place a value in having comfortable, relaxing places to study which allows us to get as deep into our element as possible so that we can enjoy our time spent there. The high school experience should strive for the same. High school ultimately prepares us for college and is where the stress of being a student goes into full blast. According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, having landscaping that brings out the beauty of nature is likely to bring out the beauty and vitality in ourselves, giving us more reason to have a positive outlook on school.

During lunch time, there are multiple places to go to eat. We could go to the cafeteria, eat in the quad or possibly go off campus. In spite of all the benches in the cafeteria, there is no way all of West High would be able to eat there. This is why we have benches outside, but what isn’t taken into much consideration is how hot it is to sit outside without shade. The shade we do have is often taken up, leaving some to seek it elsewhere. Besides the trees in the quad, the only shade you can find is around the perimeter of the buildings. The fact that we have a large quad and we still choose to be away from other students highlights how the lack of shaded landscaping truly affects our unity as a school. Bringing in more trees would be a cost-effective way to cool down the campus and bring fellow students together while supplying these benefits to many future students to come.

With the idea to have new additions to landscaping comes the endless possibilities of plant type, placement and beautification. Like almost everything in the world, landscaping is an art which means there is a vast amount of creative pools to dive into. So when I walk around campus, and only about four colors surround me: blue, beige, grey and green; I began to wonder why not orange, red, purple or yellow? Arlene Arellano, one of our grounds workers, hopes to add these colors through trees that aren’t common to induce allergies, along with the addition of vibrant flowers. Arellano has a vision to make West High’s landscaping a beautiful piece of art and has a passion for what it can become. She believes, “When you see something beautiful and you watch it flourish, it can’t help but affect [the population around it].” With the possibilities on our campus and our capable staff, we can beautify West High and the experience of our education. So, why not start now?