A Change For the Better

As the school year comes to an end, students in Mrs. Gallagher’s interior design class are working tirelessly to complete their biggest project of the year.


photo by Jess Daninhirsch

Mr. Buchak’s newly renovated office

Evelyn Wiethorn, Staff Writer

When Mrs. Gallagher walked into a half-empty classroom last fall, she was wary of what the year might mean for her interior design class.

As COVID created an unpredictable school year for students at North Allegheny, Mrs. Gallagher was eager to make the year memorable, all the way through to the final weeks. To do so, she introduced the yearly final project for her students. The project allowed the Interior Design class to reach out to teachers and staff throughout NASH offering a renovation of their room. They would then work to complete this renovation with other students in their class by the end of the school year.

In prior years, the Interior Design class has completed other renovations of rooms around NASH. In the last six years, the class has redone the Crafts Room, Mrs. LaSitis’ foods room, the preschool bathroom, the English teachers’ office, the copy room, and Mrs. Oliver’s room.

The students work through a specific process to account for each of their client’s needs.

“They go through a process similar to what an interior designer would do if they were working for a client,” Gallagher said. “Because this project comes at the end of the year, the students have already learned the elements of design that they will use to conduct a successful interview with their client.”

The students prepared a variety of questions to ask their clients. The interview included questions about the client’s needs and wants for the space, as well as the client’s preferred color schemes and budget. After they completed the interview, students created a mood board that was used to begin the renovation process.

Waverly Younts, a junior at NASH, shared her thoughts about the project.

“This project is one of the most hands-on and creative things I’ve ever done at North Allegheny,” Younts said. “We picked out our own accessories for the rooms we were designing while accommodating to the teacher’s best interest and staying under budget. It has been a really cool experience and I can’t wait to see how all the rooms turn out.”

This year the class is working on renovating Mr. Hannan’s, Mr. Kodenkandeth’s, and Mrs. Perry’s room, along with the goal office, Dr. Dirda’s Conference room, and Dr. Buchak’s office. So far, the class has successfully painted most of the rooms, but some groups are even close to putting on the finishing touches. The students are working tirelessly, hoping to finish the other renovations before the end of the school year.

Gallagher shed light on the importance of a project in a year like this.

“I have never seen students so engaged in a project,” she said. “I think because of the lack of hands-on activities in a virtual environment, the opportunity to create something makes students appreciate this experience now more than ever.”

This unique final project has not only benefited the Interior Design class during this unpredictable school year but has also improved the learning and working environment of the students and faculty at NASH. Gallagher plans to continue this final project yearly, creating a useful and enjoyable tradition for her future students.