Seniors Challenge Principal Morrison on Lounge


Gia Shin, Co-Editor-in-Chief

For three years, we seniors have watched our upperclassmen patiently, waiting for our turn to inherit senior-year privileges including The Tux Show, Senior Prom, the senior lot and…. the senior lounge. Over the pandemic, the senior lounge gradually transformed into a storage room. Now that the seniors are trying to reclaim the room, Principal Morrison is making the job exponentially difficult, according to seniors.

Over 10 years ago, the senior lounge was a staff cafeteria. When Mr. Morrison advised the Student Organization (S.O.), he decided to turn the space into a senior lounge. Seniors would visit the lounge during their free periods and lunches to socialize and play games. However, the COVID-19 pandemic (in addition to a ventilation issue) shut down the lounge. It is now used to store cafeteria tables, chairs, and bins.

Senior lounge used as a storage space.

Jordan Tobias (’23), the S.O. Vice President, had plans to restore the area as an officer. He explained that the senior class missed out on many opportunities to socialize and explore different friend groups due to the pandemic. “When people got back to school, they stuck to who they were familiar with,” he said. “And with the environment we have right now, there are not too many areas for seniors to collaborate with other seniors. The lounge will generate a safe space for seniors to interact with people they normally wouldn’t.” He had plans to revamp the room by reaching out to the Tenafly Moms, Dads, and Caregivers’ Facebook group for furniture donations on September 5, 2022. “We’re not given ample funding so we’re trying to find ways to cut corners,” he said. The post has since accumulated over 20 mixed responses from Tenafly residents who offered to donate their furniture and residents who were puzzled as to why the school couldn’t afford to give the seniors a comfortable lounge. “I find it hard to believe that with an 89 million dollar operating budget there is not 3/5 thousand dollars to properly outfit a senior lounge for our students!” user Andrew Kovar wrote in the Facebook group.

According to Morrison, the rationale behind not accepting furniture donations follows a district-wide regulation. “Everything has to have certain tags in it for being fireproof and everything else,” he said. “So taking furniture as a donation is a hard no for districts.” Furniture would have to be bought off a catalog of school-approved items. This, however, would compromise the comfortability of the lounge. “[The catalog] would include everything, but I just don’t know how comfy it would be with the school-office kind of stuff,” Morrison said.

So the bottom line is, with increasing restrictions and regulations, the lounge will never be what it used to be. “This small rejection of students trying to fight for themselves is a representation of what’s happening to the school right now,” Tobias said. He brought up issues such as the rule that parents must sign out their children at the attendance office and stricter lanyard policies. “I don’t know where these orders are coming from, but they’re clearly trying to solve one issue at the expense of the students,” he said.

Morrison, in contrast, believes that the lounge can be revived once more. “I think there’s some talk of using funds from the class that just graduated; I think that was part of their class gift,” he said. “And that would at least get us started.”