Near north Houston has a great reputation for its cohesive community, and it is in full display at Sinclair Elementary School. A group of parents, alumni and businesses people banded together to thank the teachers there, the 32 professionals who are shaping the minds of 600 children.
The group is raising cash, providing supplies, and volunteering labor to re-imagine Sinclair’s dreary teacher’s lounge. While the lounge is larger than a closet, about450 square feet, it functions as a lounge.
Supplies, shelving and rolling trashcans dot the space and its stark walls are drab.
Plans are to add a colorful mural on one of the walls. The shelving will soon have doors, then painted with chalk-friendly paint.
The citizens group committed to work for several weekends to update the room in cheery colors as well as change out the old, existing flooring. It will be replaced with new, laminate wood.
“We spoke with some of Sinclair’s teachers, and they all said the same thing. They felt the lounge was dark and unwelcoming,” stated Holly Clapham, a Timbergrove resident whose son attends Sinclair and whose daughter will follow next year.
“We want these wonderful teachers to have their own place, a space where they can relax, enjoy a few moments, and rejuvenate. They certainly deserve it,” Clapham said.
The group launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for new furniture including a dining table, attractive chairs and comfortable sofas. Silk flowers and art were donated by area families, and a rug was purchased that will define the space.
The flooring was a donation from The Floor Revue, whose owners also attended Sinclair and the paint was donated by Sherwin-Williams on Ella Blvd.
One of the best additions is thanks to Houston-based Katz Coffee. The company donated a commercial coffee station, and the citizens are creating a fresh, attractive serving area to go with it.
Clapham handled the fundraising and purchasing for the effort. Still, the young mother has one more dream. “Thanks to the generosity of the community, we’ve nearly met our goal, but we would still love to get the teachers a stainless steel refrigerator,” she said. “It would be very useful to them.”
Timbergrove resident Michael Berry has four children who will attend Sinclair over the next 10 years. Berry has been working tirelessly to secure the in-kind donations for the project.
“The way we see it,” Berry explained, “We must take care of our teachers; we must invest in them. In turn, they will do the same with our kids. Then our kids will grow up, and invest in the community, and our schools. It’s a circle that makes all of us better, and makes this area a great place to live.”
Sinclair Elementary School’s Principal Lee Mashburn is delighted with the improvements. “I must point out that it is the locals who offered this. We didn’t ask. It’s an act of generosity initiated by them and they deserve credit for it. It will make a big difference to our teachers,” he concluded.
If readers wish to contribute to the Sinclair Lounge face lift, please go to their GoFundMe page.