Lake Shore High School allowed seniors to pay for the opportunity to paint their own parking spaces for the first time for the 2018-19 school year.

Lake Shore High School allowed seniors to pay for the opportunity to paint their own parking spaces for the first time for the 2018-19 school year.

Photo provided by Lake Shore High School


Seniors paint parking spots at Lake Shore High School

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 10, 2018

 Lake Shore Superintendent Joe DiPonio said he was “blown away by how impressive the artwork was.”

Lake Shore Superintendent Joe DiPonio said he was “blown away by how impressive the artwork was.”

Photo provided by Lake Shore High School

ST. CLAIR SHORES — It can be hard for students to carve out a space of their own in a high school filled with hundreds of others, but at Lake Shore High School, seniors have an opportunity to lay claim to their own spot as soon as they pull into the parking lot. 

“It is pretty neat. This idea was brought to us by student congress. They were looking for a fun way for seniors to take ownership over their parking spaces,” said Principal Janelle Bross. 

Superintendent Joe DiPonio called it a “new tradition.”

On Aug. 28, incoming seniors at Lake Shore High School came and claimed a parking space in the school’s lot, then painted their own design to make the space their own. Students typically pay $15 for a parking pass for the year, Bross said, but that doesn’t guarantee a specific space. Seniors taking advantage of the program had to pay $90, which included the $15 parking pass, a $50 deposit and then $25 to go toward a charity chosen by student congress.

“They get that $50 deposit back when they put the primer down over their spot to be used for the student next year,” Bross said. 

Student congress adviser Rob Couck said that students began discussing painting the parking lot a few years ago, but couldn’t get the idea approved by the Board of Education. After doing more research and talking to schools like L’Anse Creuse High School North, which has a similar program, they received approval. 

Thirty-one students paid their fees, submitted their designs and agreed to return before school began to paint their spaces. 

“The seniors wanted to have something special that was theirs, that guaranteed them a spot closer to the building,” Couck said. 

Now that school has begun, others in the senior class have approached him about having a second painting day for those who couldn’t come in the summer, he said. There are about 300 students in the class. 

“I was actually a little nervous on that day of painting if the kids would remember,” he said. “Everybody showed up. Everybody had the correct paint. They had supplies, and the artwork turned out better than I expected.”

“It looks fantastic,” Bross said on the first day of school, Sept. 4. 

Student designs had to be preapproved by the school and could not contain bad language, references to drugs or anything else inappropriate. 

“I was so impressed (with the designs),” Bross said. “There was a lot of great stuff out there.”

DiPonio said he was surprised by the number of inspirational messages he saw in the designs. 

“I was blown away by how impressive the artwork was,” he said. 

The students who took advantage of the opportunity have all agreed to put the parking lot back to its original, blank condition at the end of the year. Students who don’t do so will forfeit their $50, which will then go to student congress to use to get the spot repainted. 

The new parking lot was installed this summer, DiPonio said, with money from the 2016 bond issue.

At Lake Shore, he said, they are “trying to create as much of a student-centered culture as we can, and things like this go a long way,” DiPonio said.

Couck said that this group has set the bar high for future students.

“It really made everybody that was questioning it or had concerns go, ‘Wow.’ It was incredible,” he said.