Where in Robinson? Revealing Little-Known Locations in School

Robinson’s ranking of 88 in the best U.S. high schools proves the school has great academic rankings, but there’s much more to the school than just learning basic core classes. The school offers numerous opportunities for after-school, in-school and extracurricular activities. Some of these activities and places are not widely known of, but are perhaps some of the most interesting or unique aspects of the school.

The auto shop in the E wing, for instance provides students with an opportunity to explore their interests in mechanics. Equipped with the supplies of a real auto shop, students get real-life experiences with the cars and parts. Students are rewarded for being “accident free” and have a sign they change daily which has the number of days they’ve safely worked.

“Everything in here is brand new and up-to-date. We now have cutting edge equipment,” auto shop teacher Paul Thompson said.

As for participation in auto shop, Thompson would like to see an increase in the number of students taking the elective. The auto shop offers full service to teachers and students during school hours. There are two web pages students can visit to find more information, one of which can be found on the school’s website.

Another lesser-known place in the school is the child daycare center. During school hours, students and teachers take care of three and four year olds. Students interested in child development can prepare for future careers in the lower D wing preschool. The class involves learning about early child development as well as how to work with young children. The day care, called the Head Start program, is connected to the Early Childhood Careers elective.

“The Early Childhood Careers class is a high school class where the students work with the preschoolers to get some firsthand experience with early childhood education,” said Eric Norland, Subschool Nine Principal. 

The ceramics room located in the back hall of the lower E wing offers students an exceptional studio to learn and create ceramics. Featuring a state-of-the-art 3D studio, students can create their own pottery, as well as use professional equipment. Aside from the modern technology, ceramics students appreciate the atmosphere of the class altogether.

“Ceramics is really fun because it brings out the creativity in people. It’s always a happy environment since we get to have music of our choice playing,” sophomore Mia Fielden said.

Although Russell Theatre is a popular place in the school, the black box isn’t quite well known. The Blackbox offers drama students a peaceful environment to perform, improvise, and create sets and props. The Blackbox is often an alternative to the stage of Russell Theatre, but also provides an atmosphere only drama students can experience.

“The Blackbox makes drama unique because it is a place where we hold classes and come up with ideas as a group, yet it also can be transformed into a stage where we perform pieces we’ve worked on,” sophomore Hannah Oughton said.

Some of these places in the school may intrigue some students to take those classes to find out more information, but whatever they choose, the wide variety of electives, sports, and clubs at the school offers the chance for every student to discover or continue a passion they have.

Catwalk: Many students are not familiar with the catwalk located in Russell Theatre. It is hidden up above the seats and serves an important purpose for those a part of the drama department. The main function of the catwalk is to suspend lighting equipment and microphones directed at the stage but it provides easy access to different areas as well.

The catwalk has provided the drama students with easy access to equipment needed for the plays put on in Russell Theatre.

“The catwalk is used about a dozen times for each major production,” drama teacher Douglas Rome said. “Its purpose is to provide a safe work space at the correct angle for stage lighting in the theatre.”

The catwalk also houses a security camera used to monitor the stage so the play can be seen by actors in the dressing rooms or backstage.

Rome said, “The catwalk is a restricted space, only used by those who are safety licensed to do so.”

Head Start: During the seven hour school day, some high school students may have seen little preschoolers in the hallways.

The Robinson Head start is a program began in 2006. This is a county funded program and is housed at Robinson, West Potomac and Chantilly. These three high schools have a Head Start and Family Consumer Science partnership.

This program for the preschoolers what their family might not have been able to afford. Otherwise they receive the same education and participate in the same activities other children in their age group would receive in a ‘normal’ preschool setting.

“This is a mutually beneficial program,” Head Start Administrator Eric Norland said. 

Norland said high school students who participate in the Family and Consumer Science/Head Start partnership program benefit from Head Start as much as the preschoolers. Students work alongside the preschoolers to build their experience in the teaching field before deciding whether or not they want to pursue is as a career. At the end of the program, high school students take the Nocti exam. If the students pass, they are given the industry certificate along with their regular high school diploma.

“This certificate gives the students an advantage in opportunity later on outside of high school,” Norland said.

Norland said, “If you’re having a bad day, go down and visit the Head Start and see the smiling little preschoolers and just enjoy that they come to school and it’ll cheer you right up.”

Press Box: The press box, located above the basketball court, is actually used way less than people believe because it is way too far away from the court, said Director of Student Activities Jeff Ferrell.  “When it has been used, we use it as a [place] for a camera for state wrestling tournaments and basketball games.” Ferrell said. “We have also used it as a party box for birthday parties and [other] parties.” As of now, the income for the “party box” has been relatively negligible. The box can be located by a door which comes down in front of the field house oasis.