Teachers’ lounge gets surprise makeover

Teachers’ lounge gets surprise makeover

Teachers at B.F. Norton Elementary School arrive Tuesday morning to see a freshly redone teachers’ lounge, with three heavy marble tables, leather chairs, a cabinet and two laptop tables, all donated by Cardi’s Furniture. J.A. Appliance of Cumberland donated a refrigerator, a microwave, a coffee maker and a toaster oven. Teachers were excited to see the new lounge, and Principal Dina Cerra thanked the PTO, school secretary, school custodian and the local businesses that made generous donations. Cerra added that now, “the teachers have a professional space to work in.” (Breeze photo by Charles Lawrence)
B.F. Norton staff returns to newly furnished space

CUMBERLAND – Teachers and staff members at B.F. Norton Elementary School thought they were heading to an emergency meeting early Tuesday morning.

Instead, a surprise awaited them.

During the holiday break, the teachers’ lounge underwent a makeover, and returning faculty members were shocked Tuesday to see their break area redesigned, with all new furniture, décor and appliances.

The makeover came about thanks to the efforts of PTO members, a few employees at the school, and donations from Cumberland’s JA Appliance & Kitchen Design and Cardi’s Furniture.

Until this week, the staff lounge was filled with a hodgepodge of leftover school furniture.

Now, teachers and staff at B.F. Norton have a professional-looking space with new leather chairs, marble tables, side tables for laptops, a cabinet and decorations, and new appliances, including a new coffee maker, toaster and microwave.

Principal Dina Cerra said the idea came up at a meeting in November in preparation for “Teacher Appreciation Week” in May, and PTO members got right to work.

“I snuck in here so many times with a tape measure,” said PTO member Holly Griffin, who showed photos of the space before and after the makeover. Griffin and other volunteers created decorations by hand to hang up in the room. When the teachers’ lounge was originally created, Griffin said, “I don’t think that this space was ever done with a thought.”

Two B.F. Norton employees were also in on the surprise, including Rose Teixeira, the school secretary who met with a Cardi’s representative to pick out furniture for the space, and Mark Perry, a custodian who came in to remove an old refrigerator from the room and waxed the floors in preparation for Tuesday’s announcement.

“He (Perry) easily could’ve said, ‘Not my job,’ ” Cerra said, but he came in after hours to make the room sparkle.

Griffin said PTO members originally asked for a piece of storage furniture from Cardi’s, but the business decided to donate furniture to fill the entire room. She and fellow PTO member Christina Riendeau said they were baffled by the graciousness from the community, and hope the space becomes an area where teachers can feel more comfortable while on break or planning lessons.

Griffin said if teachers purchase materials, they always benefit the children in their classrooms, they don’t usually buy items for themselves. Without the donations from community partners, Griffin said, the lounge revamp would never have been possible.

A “before” look at the B.F. Norton Elementary teachers’ lounge. Before the surprise holiday break makeover, the lounge featured a hodgepodge of leftover furniture. When it was originally created, “I don’t think that this space was ever done with a thought,” said PTO member Holly Griffin.


Congratulations to the fine folks at the PTO and the fine folks at Cardi Brothers. Nice to read about folks helping others!