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Chairs provide seats for standing students

By Erin O'Connor

Staff Writer

WESTFIELD On Nov. 1, Mayor Richard Sullivan visited Westfield High School, responding to a concern that students were standing during lunch because of a shortage of 60 chairs in the cafeteria.

"Over time chairs get broken and they don't get replaced," Dr. T.Y. McDowell, superintendent of schools said to the Reminder.

Sullivan purchased the necessary chairs through Columbia Manufacturing as well as an additional table for the cafeteria. The new table seats 24 and there are 60 additional chairs added to the cafeteria.

Sullivan said the money for the furniture, almost $2,000, would come from the city under the heading of "purchase of capital product".

Brianna McLaughlin and Margery O'Connor, two student representatives from Westfield High School to the School Committee, informed Sullivan of the issue at an October meeting of the School Committee.

"When it is really crowded the senior courtyard has been open or some students can go to the NHS room [National Honor Society]," McLaughlin said. "When it gets cold out the senior courtyard is closed and it gets crazy once winter comes."

"This is the first issue from Westfield High School," Sullivan said. "At the end of the day there was a simple solution."

"We have a wonderful relationship with the School Department and the Mayor," McDowell said.

Sullivan said he supported having students communicate with the School Committee and bringing issues of concern.

He noted a situation at Westfield Vocational High School where the students had no music program and the city was able to address it.

Ray Broderick, principal at Westfield High School, said there was talk of adding a fourth lunch period to the school schedule to eliminate future concerns with overpopulation of the cafeteria. Mcdowell said that the condition of the high school is "excellent" considering the school has been in operation for over 30 years.

He added that a majority of the furniture in the cafeteria is circa 1972.