The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

Exploring the Dens: Before and After

Before: Stephen’s had a table in front of the shelves in his room with many lively paintings and pieces of art from both himself and students.

  From animals to human health, Heidi McKeen redecorates and personalizes room 612.

Classroom 612 is a classroom that is as easily recognizable as it is unique. Deer heads, ducks and goats all line the walls and shelves. Scott Braly, a former GBHS Biology and Fish and Wildlife teacher, deeply loved and respected wildlife and hunting, and his classroom decorated with taxidermied animals and animal figures reflected just that

“You know, it’s not just for (Mr. Braly). He brought them to school, so that way everybody can see (the taxidermied animals),” Michael Negri, a former student of Braly, said.

After his retirement during the summer of 2023, Braly took some of his own mounted animals that were the most meaningful to him, but left most of it behind. Heidi McKeen, the IB Sports Exercise and Health Science teacher, has moved into the class and began to redecorate the room. 

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So far, McKeen has only put up a few items of her own by her desk. On the wall, there are photos of her family and students, but other than taking down a few taxidermied animals, there have been no major changes. McKeen is also keeping Braly’s aquariums, which he had cleaned before he left. Another thing McKeen plans on doing is getting rid of all the taxidermy.

“It’s not something that describes who I am as a teacher or a person. And it doesn’t really go with the curriculum anymore. You know, it used to be Fish and Wildlife, and now it’s Sports and Exercise Science.” McKeen said. 

While she is getting rid of all the taxidermy, Mckeen said she did receive feedback “about keeping the (mounted) bear” from her students. 

McKeen said that a few people have selected items they wanted to keep, such as Jordan Magnusson, a biology teacher, who also moved into a new room this year. 

McKeen and Quillan Donnis, the Assistant Principal Secretary, have been working together to find the taxidermy new homes. Rather than just getting rid of them, they would like to find each mounted animal a home where they will be appreciated.

They have reached out to Sierra College about their natural science display, and got a response inquiring about the species of the taxidermy to see if any species were of their interest. 

To Braly, the animals not only expressed his love of nature but also his love of hunting. The animals were there to not only make him think back on times of being in nature, but also allowed students to admire and view the beauty of nature as he had. 

But to McKeen, she hopes the animals find a home where they can be appreciated so she can decorate the room to more of her style. But to keep a piece of Braly within the classroom, McKeen said “would be comfortable keeping some of the antlers” as a symbol of what the room once was and as a reminder of Braly.

Art teacher, Sarah Lam uses her artistic intuition to stylize room 512 after the previous art teacher retires.

Sarah Lam, the new art teacher at Granite Bay High School took over Myron Stephens classroom after his retirement at the end of the 2022 – 2023 school year. 

Stephens’s classroom is another unique classroom at GBHS. Before he retired, the classroom was full of Stephen’s artworks, as well as art from students “It was always warm and welcoming. I think one thing that Stevens really made important was that it didn’t matter what your talent was. That class was only to have fun,” Jacquelyn Hernandez, a student of Stephens, said. 

Since Lam arrived, much of the classroom has been altered. Items such as the whiteboard are being removed, and the class is being renovated. 

“I’m a person who has a vision. So I’m not overly sentimental about stuff, which is partially why I wanted to clear the space, but also so that people understand that I’m a different person with a different way of teaching,” Lam said.

Along with clearing out a lot of art, Lam also repainted the walls white to make the room seem brighter. 

“There’s kind of been a complete overhaul of the classroom. I’ve taken down a lot of the artwork and items that were on the wall, and I’ve stripped it down,” Lam said. 

When renovating the classroom, Lam’s main goal is to turn the classroom into more of a working studio by adding a gallery wall, and to make the storage area “more user friendly” by increasing storage to fit the many canvases each student would be working on. 

“A lot of (the canvas) were just to show (Stephens’s) progress. There was a couple of them. So he showed us a lot of them, ones that he did in college compared to now,” Hernandez said.

Just like Stephens, Lam plans on carrying on his tradition of displaying art and using canvases for multiple purposes. 

“We keep some of the canvases here, so that we can do demos on top of them. Just like what Stephens did, kind of like carrying on his tradition of painting over canvases multiple times,” Lam said. 

Lam also wants to rearrange how the cubbies are at the moment, and has removed the doors of the cubbies to make it more of a shelf. Lam said that they plan adding more shelves to be able to hold the large amount of art that each student will create. 

When redecorating the classroom, Lam had kept artworks from previous students as well as some of Stephens’s. Lam said that she thinks they will auction Stephen’s art off during the art show that will take place during December. 

One goal of Lam’s is to create a space where people, not only art students, can work on their own art in the art class. 

“That’s partly why we’re doing an art club and even kids who are not enrolled in an art class can come in and work if they need a space. I just want people to know that creating a safe environment and a friendly welcoming environment is important,” Lam said. 

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  • Before: An interesting item Braly kept in his room was an old blue bike that he kept in the corner of the room. On top of the fish tank were also many mounted animals such as different types of birds and even a jackalope.

  • Before: Multiple deer heads hung from the cabinets. One that stands out is the red hartebeest.

  • After: Many of the deer heads that lined the cabinets have been removed, such as the deer, ram and a hartebeest.

  • After: McKeen’s skeleton stands next to the now clean fish tank. The fish tank’s top now remains bare after Braly retired.

  • Before: Stephen’s had a table in front of the shelves in his room with many lively paintings and pieces of art from both himself and students.

  • After: Lam has cleared out a lot of items such as art works and books. She also repainted the walls to brighten up the room and to increase storage.

  • Before: Stephen’s had numerous unique animal pictures hanging above each table to organize kids into groups based off of their personalities in an attempt to figure out where each student would work best.

  • After: Sarah Lam had taken off objects hanging from the walls and removed items that occupied the classroom. Lam also moved a table to make room for easels.

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About the Contributor
Rachel Guo
Rachel Guo, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Rachel is a junior and Co-Editor-in-Chief. This is her third year on the Gazette staff.

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