Take Note

September 03, 2003 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Marking Territory

At Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, the school year always begins with the same chant: “50, 55. I have 55. Do I have 60?”

The auctioneer’s chant is a familiar sound for seniors at the school, who rallied late last month to buy the right to use nearly 60 coveted parking spaces at the annual school auction.

The 1,350-student school has been “selling” parking spaces to its senior classes for the past six years as a way to kick off the new school year. Winners are allowed to paint their newly reserved spots with preapproved designs and then enjoy a yearly get- together with fellow students and parents.

It’s just good, clean fun, according to Principal Judy Zimny, who says the event is extremely popular.

“It’s designed to be a fun back-to-school activity for the upperclassmen,” she said, “but it’s also a community event that gets the parents and their kids together. Parents barbecue.”

Once the spaces—which can go for as much as $200 or more apiece—have been allocated, the seniors and their parents sweep the asphalt parking area clean, paint over last year’s designs, and begin creating their own unique works of art.

Many of the paintings are simple, said senior parent Jim Schutze, whose son Will purchased the No. 2 spot in the lot for $150 and painted it a bright yellow with black stripes to match his 1972 Camaro. But other students paint elaborate murals of fantasy scenes or sports activities.

Mr. Schutze said the project helps bring the ethically diverse student body together. “Many of the activities we [as parents] try to get the kids to do together are too transparent to work,” he said. “But this is an example of something that clicks the other way.”

The project is also a good alternative to many senior pranks, said Ms. Zimny, who noted that the students work with senior-class sponsors, teachers, and parents to come up with appropriate designs for their spaces.

At least half the school’s seniors drive to school, she estimated, but even those who don’t aren’t left out. Students who opt not to bid on spaces can lend their own artistic expertise to painting the school’s main, U-shaped driveway.

The money raised from the auction goes into the senior activity fund and helps pay for the senior prom. “It begins the school year in a positive way,” Ms. Zimny said.

—Marianne D. Hurst

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP