By Jill Fox
Watch out Joanna Gaines,…there’s some competition in the area, and their fixer-upper is a teachers’ lounge.
The staff at Challenger Elementary School in Tamarac received quite the surprise on their first day back to school thanks to their Parent Teacher Association.
According to Principal Tara Zdanowicz, the PTA does so much for the students, which includes programs and support of school initiatives, that they also wanted to do something special for the staff of 100.
“The PTA board had a vision of what they wanted it to look like, and they made it happen,” she said.
Long-time PTA board member, Jessica (who chose not to give her last name) said that she visited the teachers’ lounge at the end of last year and it looked terrible.
“We were spending PTA funds on a lot of things for the school, which is amazing, but I felt like that dull-looking room was a Debbie Downer,” said Jessica.
The principal said she had wanted to do it over the years; however, there was not enough money. Now that the PTA had saved funds over the past few years, she gave them the green light.
The board’s summer project was to get the teachers’ lounge up to par. They wanted it to be a zen place, where the staff would actually want to go, to eat, to think, and to be by themselves for a minute while their students were at lunch.
The team of three PTA board members found it difficult to get donations but managed to locate deals at Hobby Lobby and Furniture Liquidators, to complete the project for around $2,500.
On the teachers’ first day back, Zdanowicz took them on a tour of the freshly-painted building to see the surprise.
When Zdanowicz revealed the faculty lounge had gotten a facelift, she read a letter from the PTA, expressing their appreciation for the teachers and staff.
The letter read, “Our most favorite project of the summer was the lounge renovation. We transformed the room into a place you can enjoy and relax.”
Teachers took to Facebook to share their thanks.
Rebeka Mullen wrote, “We are all truly grateful! What a beautiful surprise!”
“I felt like I was on an HGTV show,” said Kathy Williams-Thompson.
The appreciative janitorial staff said that some had worked at the school for 18 years, and no one had thought to create a space for them.
Zdanowicz said, “The PTA goes above and beyond for all of us here. This was exactly what our school needed to create a family unit.”
Before and After Photos:
- Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She is currently a Senior Account Director at Lon Haber & Co. Fox worked at NBC Miami for eight years after graduating from the University of Miami. She lives in Parkland with her husband, Brian and two children.