What you’ve never noticed at Shaler Area high school


Sarah Naccarato and Julia Barbati

While the majority of the student body feels as though they have spent an eternity navigating the hallways of the Shaler Area High School, there have always been the unacknowledged stories left to collect dust in the shadows of the building. Everyday, some of us walk past unexplored hallways and rooms, unaware of the story that lies behind them. It is surprisingly easy to occupy the same building five days a week for four years without knowing a lot of the stories that linger, leaving histories of students present and prior. This is where we come in. 

Before even entering the building, practically every person can see the two statues placed out front the main entrance doors. One statue is of a young boy pouring a bucket into the front planted area, as the other is a young girl laying down reading a book. While mostly all students will be found living happily without senior projects, there have been lots of inspiring senior projects in years past. Originally brought in for a koi pond, the two statues were later donated as the pond was filled in during building renovations. 

“One student’s senior project was to create a koi living pond…when the renovation happened and they added on the rest of the wing, the pond had to be filled in, so the statues were donated as part of the senior project,” Activities Director Mrs. Mindy Thiel said.

The statues were to be left by their fish friends for the remaining days. Considering the statues are propped at the main entrance, they are not hidden to the naked eye, and cease to conform to any student rumors or stories. Although, what may be deemed mysterious is the performing arts. 

During play and musical season, we always see the amazing performances pulled together by talented students and faculty. Yet, what lies behind the curtain? The mystery is not necessarily in what is behind the curtain, but rather what is above the curtain. The attic, also known as the prop loft, is led to by a set of stairs behind the stage. Normally used for storage, the prop loft remains unknown to the majority of students. In addition to the attic, the basement, or what is commonly known as the “gravel room,” is also used for storage. The room gained its nickname by the odd fact that in replacement of the floor, it is covered in a layer of gravel. 

“I call it the apocalypse room because you walk in and it’s like the world is ending… the ceiling gets lower and lower as you traverse through,” play director Mrs. Anne Loudon said.

With this being said, a lot of “unknown” things in the high school building have never been truly scary, but rather just not acknowledged or commonly known. The class of 2020 tree is just a few steps outside of the building. The tree was planted in acknowledgement of the hardships during the beginning of the pandemic. Shaler Area felt remorseful for the times that this class missed out on and their senior year being cut short, from missing out the remaining days of their high school education to the cancellation of the 2020 prom.

“We planted the tree and created the plaque for the graduates of 2020, specifically because they were not afforded the opportunity to finish out their senior year due to the pandemic,” Superintendent Dr. Sean Aiken said. “This was a gesture that our school board made to recognize the Class of 2020 for the impact that the pandemic had on their Shaler Area experience.”

These are just a handful of unrecognized high school items. 

We could claim that we lack awareness of our surroundings because they are simply hidden from view or not necessarily relevant to our day-to-day routines, but there always seems to be more that we pass nearly everyday without noticing.