As the bell rang for break students streamed into the Bo’ Town Showcase, a newly renovated common area that highlights student achievements, provides study and meeting areas, and is home to the Bonanza Junior/Senior High School’s first-ever student store, the Grub Hub.
As some students lined up to buy snacks, others sat tables to talk or work on projects. Around the room, trophy cases display awards won by student CTE groups, including FBLA, FFA, and VEX Robotics. Highlighted behind a presentation stage outfitted with a 20-by-12-foot screen and surround sound is a mural with the question, “Where will you go next,” reminding students to look towards the future.
Lucia Cassol, a freshman and member of Bonanza Junior/Senior High School’s FBLA team, called the 36-by-50-foot area “pretty much good for everything.”
“It’s just an awesome space,” Cassol said as she gave a tour of the area, pointing out the trophy cases, the stage, and providing a behind-the-scenes view of the Grub Hub, which she and her fellow FBLA members operate.
It took imagination, vision, and a lot of elbow grease to transform what was the school’s former wood shop and wrestling area into what is now known as the Bo’ Town Showcase.
Bonanza’s Principal Jordan Osborn and Vice Principal Sergio Cisneros spearheaded the project, and Osborn and former head custodian Adam Patterson spent Thanksgiving break in November 2020 painting the room.
“We were brainstorming about a space for students to come and showcase their skillsets,” Cisneros said. “We knew we had to redesign the space. We started painting, and began talking with students, staff, and community members about their priorities and what they wanted to see.”
Bonanza’s leadership team then asked for and received buy-in from the school district, and Bonanza’s custodians and the district’s maintenance crew helped make their vision a reality. The result is a unique, multi-use common space that can fit up to 200 people for presentations as well as provide academic space and opportunities for hands-on learning experiences such as the student store and a Makers Space.
Students voted on the name of the student store, and The Grub Hub became a reality this year. The space also is still used for wrestling practice. Wrestlers simply roll up their mats after practice, returning it back into a common area.
“This was an opportunity to take a space that was only used for one thing and turn it into a place where we could do so many cool things with our students,” Osborn said. “Before, we didn’t have a commons area or a place for students to display awards. I’m very proud of the space. My theory is if your facility looks good and is sharp, students and staff are going to be invested in it.”
Construction of the Makers Space is the next phase of the project. Funded by a $17,000 CTE revitalization grant, it will have industry-level equipment and technology that allows students to apply classrooms concepts, said Freddy Maldando, Bonanza’s CTE business and marketing teacher and FBLA advisor.
“It’s one thing to look at a textbook and it’s another thing to say, ‘OK, now we’re going to create a logo, we’re going to establish a brand,’” he said.
The space will have the tools and technology to produce a variety of projects, including a T-shirts, mugs, beanies, and industry-level signage. FBLA members also would be able to sell products in the student store.
“With our CTE programs plugged in, the foundation’s been laid,” Cisneros said. “Students can take it and run with it. We’re building a team and everyone is excited.”