(Copyright 1998 & 1999 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

Life Under Construction

Starting in the summer of 1998, both of Bristol's public high schools have been in the process of a major renovation that has disrupted normal life. The following pieces, which anyone may contribute, attempt to capture what's going on at the schools.

Tuesday, Sept. 1, 1998
Ahh, my first day of high school. As I walk
through the halls looking for the gym I look
around andnotice how disgusting this schoolis
compared to Chippens Hill. The gym floor looks
ancientand the floor was so bumpy. The gym
teacher informed us that because of the swamp
underneath Bristol Eastern it is pushing the
floor boards up. He also informs us that the
floor will be redone and I definitely think it
is in need of it. The gym floor sems inadequate
for P.E. students and basketball players to be
using. Hopefully the next time Ihave gym it will
be in the gym and not in the bottom of a swamp.
-- Bethany Raffanello, freshman, Bristol Eastern High School

Tuesday, Sept. 1, 1998
The first day of school is hard enough as it is 
it's even harder still when you're a freshman 
and it's darn near impossible when you're school
is undergoing major renovation. 

While walking down an unfamiliar hallway on day
number one of the school year, I was hopelessly
lost. Spying an upperclassman I was familiar
with, I stopped and asked if they could kindly
show me the way to this apparently non-existent

Being the kind hearted individual that he was,
he grabbed my hand and proceeded to drag me down
a myriad of twisting and turning hallways,
intent on showing me a wonderful shortcut that
would be sure to save me time and energy. After
traveling for a few minutes, I began to wonder
what his definition of the word "short cut" was.
All of a sudden we were stopped short by a large
piece of white plaster-type wall blocking the
hallway. Just then the bell rang, and he uttered
a barely audible four letter word.

It turns out his wonderful short cut was blocked
off by the construction taking place in the
hallway, and we were both late for class on the
first day of school  quite a way to make an
impression, huh?
--- Jen Rajotte, freshman, Bristol Eastern High School

Thursday, Sept. 3, 1998

If I had any presumptions about perhaps this construction being a
good idea, then today they were forgotten.

I was late for my English class when a group of freshman, who
were obviously lost, dazed or apparently stupid, stood in the
middle of the hallway and decided to talk to each other amidst
the confusion and traffic of the mid day rush.

Normally I would have decided to miss the whole mess of the
"naive and stupid" in the hallway, but due to the remodeling of
the hallway of my choice I didn't have another option to access.

Also even though it is only day three of school I have heard all
about the construction, the details of how long it will take, and
how troubling it has been for faculty and students alike. I now
know that the construction will take approximately 900 days,
which in junior time doesn't mean much since I will be out of
this school by the time that they are done.  Therefore I don't
really care about this, except that it is causing me to be late
for classes. 

On a whole I actually can't think of any good that is coming out
of this for my benefit. I have complaining teachers that are
traveling around and in time I feel will lose my papers in the
confusion and stupid freshman that are adding to my troubles as

The only upside in this is the making fun of the situation as
much that it can be made fun of. For example the hallway that
holds the history department has no ceiling or floor which gives
it a "bat cave" appearance that throws off echoes that are really
quite humorous to hear and to say. Those are the two good sides
the ONLY good sides.

Now I am wondering what tomorrow will be like or what room I will
be in, if one at all??
-- Jessica Norton, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Wed., Sept. 9, 1998

When I was walking to my science class, it occurred to me this
morning just how inconvenient the new construction at Bristol
Central was going to make day-to-day life. Usually, to get to the
science room, I would just have to walk down one of the
connecting halls and take a right.

Well, it's no longer that easy. I must now go down two flights of
stairs to the bottom floor, across the bottom flor, then back up
two flights of stairs. Oh, I'm startig to love it already.

Now, the construction workers have at least been able to open up
one of the connecting halls in the middle floor, so that cross-
school transit has been made a little easier. However, it is
still very tough to get to classes without having to go a long
way out of the way.

Just to mention that would of course be leaving out the fact that
the school now resembles a dungeon, with the atmosphere not
exactly making the whole experience any easier to put up with.

I'm a senior, though, so I know the school already. It's the
freshmen who are really suffering. How am I supposed to tell my
freshman sister how to get to class when I am not even sure? It's
sad to see the scared looks of the freshmen as they take a turn
and realize that they are at a dead end, trapped in a building
that has all the charm of a medieval torture chamber.

I'd stop to laugh, but I have to find out how to get to my next
-- Collin Seguin, senior, Bristol Central High School

Friday, Sept. 12, 1998

English class. We're reading Streetcar Named Desire. My teacher
tells us it was once called The Poker Night. We're all
fascinated. Really.

Stanley slaps Stella in the kitchen and we all gasp. In my mind
Marlon Brando wails into the night:

Construction plods on.

That scratching sound in the distance can only be poor Mr.
Williams turning slowly in his grave.
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Monday, Sept. 14, 1998

It's the start of a new day and I'm on my way to
Mr. McMahon's English class. Up the stairs and
around a corner, I find myself in the midst of a
cave-like hallway with no floor or ceiling. The
concrete is gritty under my new Steve Maddens
and I'm deathly afraid that a strange, unknown
substance is going to fall from the ceiling and
ruin my hair. I push through the mass of
students when I spot the room and step inside. I
take my seat and reach into my bag for my
textbook. Half an hour later, I am rudely
interrupted from reading about Walter Mitty's
secret life with a loud,ear-piercing
startled, and realize that it's just the
construction, and go back to reading about the
great Waterbury trial.
-- Liz Tinker, freshman, Bristol Eastern High School

Wed., Sept. 16, 1998

A few days ago, my entire gym class had to run a
few laps on the outdoor track. While some people
breezed through it, I'm not athletically
inclined and I huffed and I puffed the whole
way. When I finally finished that fourth lap, I
collapsed on the grass. A loud rumble stirred me
from my rest and I sat up a little to see what
it was all about. I saw that a few workers had
attached what appeared to be a giant slide to
one of the windows. Huge chunks of plaster were
being deposited into the chute in a flurry of
chalky white dust, and the rubble was emptied
into a giant dumpster. It was an interesting
distraction to the boring gym class!
-- Natalie Minor, freshman, Bristol Eastern High School

Friday, Sept. 18, 1998

It's 1:30, and it's the end of another steamy September afternoon
at good old B.C.. The heat is intensified by the fact that this
construction nonsense has segregated the hall I'm in, stagnating
the already humid air. I drift into an uncomfortable doze, but,
unfortunately, wake up seconds later.

Now to worsen the situation, I have yet another so-called
"asbestos headache." It feels as though two men in hard hats are
standing on either side of me, taking turns bashing my skull
deeper and deeper into my desk....

Then, just as suddenly as it appeared, my headache vanishes, and
two construction workers pass by my classroom, with their hard
hats and hammers, off to give some other poor kid their headache.
And I wonder if I'm not dreaming all this, too.
-- Amanda Lehmert, senior, Bristol Central High School

Friday, Sept. 18, 1998

High school, the best four years of my life!
Well, that rumor is coming to an end, and pretty
quickly for that matter. How am I supposed to
enjoy my high school career when I can't even
find my way to classes?

This renovation project is completely throwing
me off track. Try to imagine yourself as a
frightened 14-year-old trying to overcome
puberty while being shoved into a school filled
with adults with fully grown beards. I mean,
that's horrifying enough already, isn't it?

Now on top of all that I have to worry about
finding my way around the school. They should
just send us to boot camp. And not only that,
but by the time we catch the drift of things we
are shipped out and moved off to different

Not only is the renovation making me get lost,
but it is also annoying me during class. Just
the other day I had to complete a test in all
this racket because of the renovation. And in my
math class we always have to repeat ourselves 4
or 5 times because the teacher can't hear us
over the construction.

Overall, I despise the construction work. I
highly doubt that the results are going to be
worth the three years of havoc that the students
have to put up with. But then again, there is
nothing I can do about it so I guess I am just
going to have to deal with it like everyone else
for now.
-- Irene Sitiledes, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Friday, Sept. 18, 1998

I was poking at something on my styrafoam lunch tray with a 
little plastic fork and just beginning to worry about  the
Italian test next period.

A friend of mine turned to me slowly and said: "Has it occurred
to you yet that we could very well be breathing the 
asbestos they're removing in the renovation?"

I said: "I have reflexive verbs and this artificial steak
sandwhich to contend with just now...no health issues, please."

She said: "Think about it, it just can't be safe."

I said: "I  have. It can't. You're right."

She said: "So what do you think of it?"

I said: "I think that if I breathe deeply near the English hall I
may escape a foreign language quiz..." 

She said: "Oh."

And then she moved to another table.
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Friday, Sept. 18, 1998

I am in study hall trying to read a short story
for lit class. I have read and reread the same
line about six times. I sigh, slam my book shut
and realize there is no way I can concentrate.
Being on the lower level, the classrooms don't
have ceilings, just metal roofs that magnify the
sound of everything. The rustling of chairs and
books on concrete only increases the noise
level, and because of all this noise there is no
way anyone can concentrate or do any homework.
Teachers try to yell above the noise but it is
no use, it just adds to it. Although I know the
construction will last only a few years, it
won't be done soon enough.
-- Bethany Raffanello, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Tuesday, Sept. 22, 1998

While you are walking down the hallways you
can't help but notice the depressing mood you
are forced into. The dark hallway engulfs you
and saddens your soul. You are pushed into a dim
room waiting to work, yet anticipating the sound
of the bell at the end of class. Perhaps you
can't wait until you get out of the dreary room
to see the light of day. As you work, you may be
disturbed by the rustle of desks being moved
around in the classroom above you. You may find
it hard to concentrate because of the noise.

As the freshman class stepped into the polished
floor of a Bristol Eastern High School hallway
they could not help but notice the renovations.
The cement floors and the rooms without
ceilings. It may not effect you individually,
but I'm sure that there are some students who
are feeling the effects. Many students believe
that the renovations are an inconvenience now,
but will help the school in the long run.
-- Shaunte Miller-Ligon, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Wed., Sept. 23, 1998

Bristol Eastern High School construction has
made achieving education impossible. Two halls
have been blocked off, and signs are posted
everywhere informing staff and students of the
inherent dangers. Of course, this is just a
waste of paper since the noise level is enough
of a declaration in itself. For instance, I was
walking my friend to class this morning and the
workers were so disruptive that we couldn't even
hear each other's talk. Trying to get around
teachers strolling shopping carts is also an
ever-increasing hassle, as well as an
embarrassment for teacher and student alike. The
only way of coping is to take the environment
with humor and play "Guess the Interruption."
-- Merissa Mastropiero, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Wed., Sept. 23, 1998

STUDENT:"So...when exactly are we going to use
TEACHER:"Well,actually, Geometry is used in a
lot of everyday 
STUDENT: "So, 'engineer' is an everyday
occupation these days?"
TEACHER: "You see, it's a common misconception
that only engineers use geometry. Why, the men
working at the school renovations need a
stronggrounding in geometry to go about their
STUDENT: "So what you're trying to tell me is
that you can use geometry to do things loudly
and over budget, inconveniencing everyone?"
TEACHER:"Um...not exactly. Okay, let's try this
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Wed., Sept. 23, 1998

Having your school remodeled has its ups and
downs, but mostly it's just a pain. Some kids
don't mind it because it gives them an excuse to
be a couple minutes late to class. Other times,
I guess you could say that it's good to have one
of those all too frequent bangs shock  you to
attention when you're drifting off during a
boring lecture.

Personally, I can't say either way, because I'm
only a freshman and I haven't experienced
Central as a construction-free school, and it
looks like I won't be seeing it for awhile. Then
again, I don't appreciate starting my high
school experience like this in the first place.
It's kind of hard to concentrate on what you're
doing when the noises above your head are so
loud that you think the ceiling is going to fall
on your head any minute, or better yet, when the
noises make it sound like you're being shot from
the next room.

The thing that bothers me most, though, is that
as a freshman by the time I get used to my
classes, it's time to move somewhere new. Even
worse, since all the rooms are already filled,
my classes are going to probably end up being in
the auditorium of the cafeteria.

So, while by now I'm pretty much used to it,
life under construction isn't the greatest thing
in the world, but in its defense I know
eventually it will make our school even better,
and it's not the worst thing in the world
either. We can all take an extra minute or two
to get to class. So, as you're taking that
detour towards your next class, just think to
yourself how nice the hallways of our schools
will look once there aren't any construction
workers and debris everywhere.
-- Suzanne Gregorczyk, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Wed., Sept. 23, 1998

Sitting in study hall, I'm trying to do my
creative writing homework. In front of me sits a
clean white sheet of paper, with the words
"Where were you last night?"

Ready for my next line, and a good idea strikes.
With my pen on the paper, the sound of saws and
hammers then slam into my ears from down the

"Last night I was right in the middle of a war

With the construction work going on, I can't
even get my homework done.

Every time I got a great idea the construction
scrambled my wits about me, so I lost the idea. 
So I slammed my notebook shut and spent the rest
of the period trying to do my chemistry work.
-- Leslie Marshall, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Thursday, Sept. 24, 1998

Driver's Ed. I was confirming in No.2 pencil
that one should always come to a complete stop
before turning right on red. 
TURNS'!" yelled the teacher over a symphony of
hammers, nails, and god knows just what else.
"WHAT?!" We wailed back.

I had decided to kill them all, one by one, when
suddenly it stopped. All of it. Silence. Through
the wide gap just below the celing on theback
wall, there came two voices:

"Hey, you know we went to Red Lobster last
"No...what'dja have?"
"Yeah, chicken."
"What? What's wrong with Chicken?"
"Nothing. There's nothing wrong with chicken. I
didn't say nothing."
"No, you didn't SAY nothing, but..."

We all put down our pencils, looked around us,
laughed because we thought that we might cry.
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Thursday, Sept. 24, 1998

While sitting in Mr. McMahon's English class, I
was fully enraptured by the lecture he was
giving us and actively taking notes (being the
wonderful student that I am). When I looked down
at my paper and prepared to take notes, I
noticed a few little  white specks of something
on decorating my desk. After poking the
suspicious substance a few times to be sure it
wouldn't spontaneously jump up and bite me, I
shrugged and flicked it off my desk.
A short time later, one of those familiar loud
bangs that you hear coming from down the hall
echoed throughout the classroom, disturbing the
attentive students trying to concentrate on
their English assignment. Rather amused and
slightly annoyed, I looked up at the ceiling,
the general direction that the noise seemed to
be coming from. 
Just my luck. As I lifted my face up to the
ceiling, a shower of little white flecks rained
down like snowflakes onto my face and desk.
Great. The ceiling was falling on my head, and
the rest of the day I got the honor of walking
around looking as if I had a severe case of
dandruff, all thanks to the lovely renovations.
--- Jen Rajotte, freshman, Bristol Eastern High School

Wed., Sept. 30, 1998

I'm sitting in class and I hear a 'thud' so
incredibly loud that
I am sure if I look out the window the sky will
be falling. And I can't help but think that
somewhere in this building, a house has just
fallen on my sister. 
-- Amanda Lehmert, senior, Bristol Central High School

Wed., Sept. 30, 1998

I couldn't think in history today.  My head was
pounding and it wasn't from the cold I'm coming
down with.  No, it was from all the that
terrible clanging coming from the direction of
the construction.  The sound echoed in my ears
and bounced off the walls.  I almost couldn't
stand it anymore!  But finally, it stopped.  I
was rejoicing!  Now maybe I could think
straight.  I finished up what I was working on
and put my head down on my desk, hoping to catch
up on some of the ZZZs that I missed last night. 
But as soon as I got comfortable, the banging
started again.  I sighed and thought: "Will it
ever stop?"

Well, the answer to that question is yes, but
not before I'm long gone.
-- Liz Tinker, freshman, Bristol Eastern High School

Friday, Oct. 2, 1998

Sure it's a nuisance, but I can take all the
noise. I have even learned to live with taking a
roundabout way to class. And the fact that one
of the bathrooms doesn't have running water for
the sinks is a thing I can work around. But
today was the last straw: these hard hat bullies
bagged up the last openly available water
fountain in the whole school.

This is an atrocity! It is unthinkable that a
person should have to go a large part of the day
inhaling fine construction dust into her lungs,
and not be able to wash it down with a
refreshingly cool drink from a fountain. What
has this school come to?

They may as well just turn off the electricity,
send the teachers home, and take away my books,
because I cannot work like this.
-- Amanda Lehmert, senior, Bristol Central High School

Friday, Oct. 2, 1998

12:10.  Finally.  After sitting through an hour
and a half of my English substitute babbling
about Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of
Amontillado" I was definitely ready for lunch. 
The bell rings, and I'm walking down the hall
with my friend, talking about the varsity
football game that night.  The conversation
stops and I'm looking in front of me.  All of a
sudden a panel from the hallway ceiling slips
out of its place above us and lands on the
head of the girl right in front of me.  It
doesn't hit her too hard, but it did hit her. 
She brushes it off and keeps on walking.  Life
goes on. No one cares. Later I talk to a friend
about what happened. He told me about how
earlier in the day he had almost got hit with a
clump of wires. Well, all I can think is, has it
come to this, where we're getting hit with
objects falling from the ceiling when we're in
-- Suzanne Gregorczyk, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Monday, Oct. 5, 1998

So there I was in first period daydreaming about
my knight in shining armor, when I was rudely
interrupted by a loud thump. Needless to say it
was the construction. I looked up sharply,
noticed that my nails needed to be done and then
settled back into my daydream. Once again I was
caught off guard. One time is enough but twice
is to much. There you have it, life under
construction is extremely hard when you are
trying to fantasizing.
-- Shaunte Miller-Ligon, freshman, Bristol Eastern High School

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 1998

Today I stood in the rain with dozens of other sleepy eyed,
slow moving second period students, wondering what was really
going on. A fire drill at 9 a.m., in the rain, for no apparent
reason. Rumors buzzed within the small crowds of similarly
dressed students that it was all about the renovations. The work
had somehow found a fire alarm. No, I thought, it couldn't be
that simple. Inconvenient, sure, but no, not this. I was sure
there was some other explanation. I was wrong, but then, I often
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Tuesday, October 13, 1998

Think. Think. Think. Writing can be so difficult
at times. I'm sitting in study hall on this
miserable Tuesday morning writing a piece for
the construction journal. I begin, "I haven't
been hearing much noise seeping out of the
forbidden caves of renovations, lately." Of
course, the "White-Out" gods choose to correct
me when a huge crash resounds from above. It
doesn't really matter what it was, just as long
as something is happening to the building.

We can't credit the construction workers for all
our dismal times during the school day, though.
There is the occassional stink bomb and gang of
impossible freshmen roaming the halls. But
construction does account for at least fifty
percent of our troubles. The other fifty percent
previously was reserved for the administrators.
-- Merissa Mastropiero, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Wednesday, Oct. 14, 1998

I was near the tech wing, typing something. That's simply
where the best computers are. It was raining, yet again, and, as
I listened to the Principal warn us of the flooding, I noticed
that a small square patch of ceiling had fallen, shattered in the
hallway. It was soaked and crumbling in its pile. You may take
from these things what you will....
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Thursday, Oct. 15, 1998

On my way to drama I noticed couples in the hallway busy groping
and couples fighting in their raised, shrill voices and I
remembered that we were reading "Biloxi Blues." I wondered who
would volunteer to read the part of the prostitute and who would
taunt her for it. I passed a large and rather unattractive,
sealed off section of the building. Renovations. They'd covered
the partitions and thin walls with student artwork, photographs.
"Cute, " I thought, and knew that they were trying. You have to
give them credit where you can.

They're starting asbestos removal today, ceilings and floors, at
2:05. I have after school activities. I'm suddenly very afraid to
have after school activities. There's something wrong there,
VERY, VERY wrong.
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Saturday, October 17, 1998

8 a.m. The first time the constructional
actually affected me directly.

This is the morning when all the members of the
class of 2000, at least those who want to go to
college, take the test that could save them a
lot of money. After only a couple of hours of
review and six hours of sleep, I entered the
auditorium side of Bristol Eastern High School
at 8 o’clock sharp, ready to take my PSATs.

There was a mob of over 200 juniors, some
sophomores, and is that a freshman over there? 
You couldn’t see the end over the sea of heads.
Partly to make conversation, and partly out of
curiosity, I asked my friends what the hold-up
was. Either someone smartened up, or there was
no room due to construction because the annual
Teddy Bear Jamboree was held at St. Paul’s,
instead of in our school during PSAT testing. So
it couldn’t have been that. Of course nobody
knew the answer.

After standing in the mob for a few minutes, I
told my friend that I could have been home
getting some more sleep. We were finally freed
and about half of us lined up at the door of the
cafeteria to get signed in. Yes, the cafeteria. 
The kid in front of me exclaimed, "Oh, there’s
desks!"  And I repeated the same when I entered.

Well, at least we weren’t taking one of the most
important tests of our lives on long tables
where when we have to look up when done, we see
someone’s face, which is kind of annoying while
you’re supposed to be concentrating your test,
not on the way the person across from you looks
early Saturday morning.

Due to the asbestos removal in the math hallway
(which, by the way, I heard was supposed to be
removed from the whole building this past
summer, oh well, so why start it the morning of
the PSATs out of all days?), our room
assignments got changed at the last minute. And
I was one of the lucky many to get stuck in the

When I sat down at my desk way in the back, I
thought to myself, this doesn’t seem as bad as I
expected. The desks were nicely spread out. Then
I saw our proctors with large pieces of
construction paper (no pun intended). I thought
they were going to tape them to the windows in
the doors so we wouldn’t be distracted.

Instead, my proctor taped the big bright yellow
sheet of paper on the wall, and wrote something
that I could not interpret from the back row.
She said she was going to write our ending times
on that sheet. OK, but I told her I couldn’t
read it from my seat. She wrote the times big
enough for everyone to read. I realized that the
cafeteria had no chalk and/or dry erase board,
which could be very useful for the proctors as
well as for the students. Then I wondered if
they had thought this out. You know, there are
portable boards. I commented to my friend that I
felt like we went to a very poor, meaning cheap
school. Then she said she was going to walk
around with a sign from time to time to let us
know how many minutes we have left.

I thought she was joking. But she actually
snaked around us, holding up the appropriate
sign for each time interval. Passing out
booklets and answer sheets usually takes less
than a minute in a normal classroom setting. But
with four times the amount of people in the
café, it took forever.

I just wanted to get started so I can get out
early. When we finally began the actual test, I
could not concentrate. Normally I work better
with noise. But the Fruitopia machine was just
letting out an annoying moan.

Of course everyone who was in a normal classroom
was out a half-hour before us.  We would have
been out a couple of minutes earlier if they
didn’t ask if there were any St. Paul students
about five times.  We should have taken the test
there -- at least they don’t have any asbestos
(not that I know of).
-- Hila Yosafi, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Monday, October 19, 1998

Hi. I am writing to inform everyone that the two
public high schools in Bristol aren't the only
schools that serve the Bristol Area are under
construction. I am a junior at E.C. Goodwin
R.V.T.S. in New Britain and life there is

The math center (Room 239) is being renovated so
they can put in 11 computer terminals. I can
never find the teachers. It's like A Day Mods 5,
6, 7 meet in room 208, B Day 9, 11, 12 meet in
room 214, etc. 

It's even worse for the rest of the school.
There is no kitchen! Instead, there's a little
"cubicle" with which we have to make 250
sandwiches everyday. The maintenance department
has moved in the convection oven, but the
electrician still hasn't hooked it up, so it's
still sandwiches. God only knows when the
blasted construction will start. We have had so
many start dates it's no longer funny. At any
rate, once they do start it will take 120
working days to complete our new state-of-the-
art kitchen.

Time-line: June 1, 1998, asbestos removal slated
to start (did not get funding); July 15,
asbestos removal slated to start (did not get
funding); August 1, finally got funding; Aug.
29, asbestos removal completed; Sept. 1,
demolishing of walls/construction Slated to
begin (not done); Oct. 15, demolishing of
walls/construction slated to begin (not done);
Oct. 19, demolishing of walls/construction
slated to begin (not done).
-- Marc Bramhall, junior, E.C. Goodwin R.V.T.S.

Monday, October 19, 1998

Sigh. It'a Monday morning. I'm on my way to
first period geometry. 'Nuff said. While making
my merry way through the foreign language
hallway, I am suddenly overcome by a sickening
aura of diesel putrescence infiltrating my
innocent lungs. I gag violently due to this
unexpected disturbance in my otherwise serene
respiration. This is a school, not a gas
station! Holding a too-long sleeve over my face,
contorted with disgust, I hastily exit the
deadly hallway, escaping it's volatile contents.
I suppose I'll have to continue with my
existence now. Grumble. Work and
-- Chantelle Garzone, sophomore, Bristol Eastern High School

Tuesday, October 20, 1998

Due to the fact  than an overwhelming majority
of past construction journal entries have had
extremely negative connotations with somewhat
cynical undertones, I have resolved to bring
attention to the finer points of Bristol
Eastern's current renovations.

A thrilling attribute of our renovations is the
daily mob of students that engulf the minuscule
capacity of the halls. Isn't it a nice change of
pace to converse with your neighbor while only
inches from their face? It gives a whole new
meaning to the phrase 'too close for comfort.'

I don't even have to move, quite convenient
actually. I just float along in the midst of a
cattle herd signaled by the ringing of
monotonous bells. Moooo...
Also, what all the fuss about the construction
noises? They don't bother me, I actually find
them quite invigorating, especially while taking
a test. The answers seem to resound ever so
clearly in the recesses of my mind, or maybe
that's just the jack-hammering. Yes, I'd say
they're almost musical. Who knows? Among the
construction workers there may by the next
Mozart: bang-whap-korf-rat-tat.
Well, there you have it. Renovations can be fun!
Flexibility, people. Flexibility!
-- Chantelle Garzone, sophomore, Bristol Eastern High School

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 1998

I have always thought it a cruel joke to give
false hope. The English teachers have been
informed they will have their rooms returned to
them by Christmas. I highly doubt this in our
futures. In addition, the lack of insullation,
ceiling, and tiles has made Eastern incredibly
cold. The main problem with this is
administration doesn't allow jackets to be
worn in the building. Of course, God forbid they
turn the heat up a notch. (It might waste tax
-- Merissa Mastropiero, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Wednesday, October 28, 1998

You know how your're walking down the hall and
the bell rings for the start of class, and
your're almost there, and you are tardy? It
hasn't happened to me yet, but it might because
of artifical walls blocking some hallways. I
think they should at least reduce the size of
the walls, and put a wall going down both sides
of the hallways so you can at least use all of
-- Joe Aparo, sophomore, Bristol Central High School

Wednesday, October 28, 1998

There's one thing about this construction that I
can't quite figure out. How, with a rule that
prohibits the wearing of coats in school, are we
supposed to avoid hypothermia in English class?
Believe me, it's hard enough to concentrate on
Mr. McMahon reading The Merchant of Venice with
my fingers turning blue and my teeth chattering
so loudly I can hardly hear it -- as if I would
have any clue as to what "sooth" meant anyway!
-- Natalie Minor, freshman, Bristol Eastern High School

November 4, 1998

Driving into the parking lot this morning, I
find that the entrance to the side lot is now
blocked off, that the front has a strip of dirt
separating it.  Wow, now I found that the
construction has found every possible way of
disrupting my life.  Not only must I make a
journey out of my trips to class, but  I also
must go off-roading to get to my parking space.
-- Collin Seguin, senior, Bristol Central High School

November 4, 1998

My day started off well. I was doing fine and
hadn't made any major mistakes. I was thinking
about how good I was doing when dust particles
started to fall on my head.

At first it was fine, but over and over again,
that was when it became a problem. After
thousands of particles flew into my hair my day
was ruined. On top of all of that, my hair was
- Shaunte Miller-Ligon, freshman, Bristol Eastern High-School

November 4, 1998

Well, I'm in English, and about ready to act out
a "dumb show."  Now, this would be hard enough,
given my complete lack of acting talent, but now
the banging in the background has made it
impossible to hear my teacher's directions on
play. At least when my performance comes up
pitiful, I can just blame it on the
-- Collin Seguin, senior, Bristol Central High School

Thursday, Dec. 17, 1998

Every day I pass by the large, gray barrier
walls the construction workers have placed,
blocking off two of our second floor hallways
and one of the first floor halls without a second
thought.  It's just another part of our lives. But
today a construction worker left one open for a
few minutes.  And of course I couldn't resist
taking a quick peek, and I have to say I was
more than a little disappointed.  With all the
commotion that comes from those halls you'd
expect to see the "Promised Land," or at least a
small improvement from the halls that are
available.  But all I saw was a hallway even
worse-looking than the one I was walking
down. I guess I shouldn't expect any more than
that for a long time.
-- Suzanne Gregorczyk, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 1999

Today in film study we watched "Butch
Cassidy & The Sundance Kid." Construction
had already caused us to turn the volume all
the way up. Okay so we're sitting there and the
most famous part of the movie comes up.  So
of course the din from the construction reaches
an all-time high. I missed everything that was
said! I also missed most of the movie because I
couldn't hear.  Oh,  why couldn't the noise
have disrupted English or Chemistry.
--Leslie Marshall, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 1999

Over the past few months, construction at
Eastern has continued at an agonizingly slow
pace.  Deadlines, deadlines... first
Thanksgiving, then Christmas, now who
knows?  Where will it end?  More importantly

We've all become used to the sights, sounds,
and yes, even smells of the renovations. It's
started to blend into the background, as most
things do. Despite the inconvenience and fear
of asbestos, the construction will continue for a
very long time, and although we can't do
anything about it, this too will pass.  The dust
isn't quite ready to settle yet, so we might as
well get used to it.
-- Chantelle Garzone, sophomore, Bristol Eastern High School

Monday, Jan. 11, 1999

About a week ago all students who attend
Central received in the mail the latest issue of
"BC Link," the school's bulletin.  It reported on
how the construction had finished Phase One,
and was ready for the next.  It gave no
information as to what has actually occurred
inside those hidden hallways. But they do
assure us that we'll all have to get used to a
new obstacle course of halls once the corridors
have opened.  All any of us know for sure is
that they dug a hole so large that you could
actually see into the usually buried basement. 
Soon after, they filled in the hole which made
it look exactly the same as it did before we had
a month with a moat to welcome you to Bristol
Central with.  I think many of us would mind
these eyesores and inconveniences less if the
school would take the time to explain them to
us.  We would be much more content with the
huge dirt piles and overcrowded halls if maybe
BC Link or anyone else would tell us what's
going on with the work instead of simply
reassuring us that, "breath safety checks will
-- Suzanne Gregorczyk, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 1999

I knew, mind you, I just knew that today was
going to be a bad day.  So, of course, the
feeling's confirmed. I go to my locker to put
my coat away and it's surrounded by a few
inches of water. "Good thing I wore my boots
today," I mutter to myself as I put the coat into
the locker. I head towards the science wing,
and this riveting or saw sound starts up and,
scares me into dropping my purse on the floor. 
Then the glass perfume sampler breaks in my
purse as it hits the cement floor. "Another
wonderful day at Bristol Eastern High!  I really
hope that Spanish is a bit better."
-- Leslie Marshall, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Friday, Jan. 29, 1999

I was sitting in my world history class, and
coming down with a small case of hypothermia
(or that's how I was feeling at the time, at
least). It's the end of January and all of the
windows in our class were open. I asked if
someone could please just  close the window.
Before anyone could oblige, my teacher
informed us that she had been told to keep the
windows open, because the "air quality" in her
room wasn't very clean. Oh, but don't worry,
she said, we could wear our coats that day. I
sighed as I pulled my wool gloves over my
fingers while I tried to keep taking notes.
-- Suzanne Gregorczyk, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Monday, Feb. 15, 1999

Construction on the new kitchen at E.C.
Goodwin Tech finally got under way on Nov.
22, five months later than originally planned.

I was back there about two weeks ago and
there is nothing left. All the walls were gone
and the floor was gone. They dug up the floor
to put in new pipes and grease traps. Last I
heard they were hoping to be finished by the
middle of May, though we won't use it until
next school year. The tenth grades stay in a
temporary kitchen preparing sandwiches or
foods that only has to be bake since all we
have in a convection oven. The eleventh
graders are working at UConn Medical Center
in Farmington and they are helping out at the
Bristol Technical Education Center.

Construction in the math center has been
completed. It looks great. The new math center
has a lot of computers that the students can get
math help on.

Before Christmas break the renovation of the
Auditorium began. It resumed in the middle of
January. It's about half finished and it looks
great so far. They still have to put in new
tables, chairs, and carpet and they have to
finish painting. Hopefully the auditorium won't
get trashed. Two years ago they renovated the
lavatories and they were trashed.
-- Marc Bramhall, junior, E.C. Goodwin Technical School

Monday, Feb. 22, 1999

Got our English hallway back today. The teacher was
trembling. She was just so pleased to have a place to
PUT something.

Sadly, a great deal of the construction seems to be
unfinished, and we are still 
without floor tiles or ceilings. A small matter when
compared to the vast gaps between the walls and
ceilings through which one can clearly hear every
exhausted exhalation of every bored student in every
classroom on the hall. This and the everpresent
clanking and bellowing of constant rennovation in the
near distance....
Teacher: "HIS ...WHAT?"
Teacher: "WHAT?"
Teacher: "WHAT?"
Fellow student: "SO, LIKE, WHITMAN WAS GAY,
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Wednesday, March 3, 1999

Construction has advanced to the next level of doom.
The first sections of hallways -- the English halls --
are complete, and they moved onto the next step -- the
social studies corridor. What does this mean for
teachers and students? More headaches! Headaches
from an array of pungent odors. Headaches from
confused students roaming the halls. Headaches from
the cave-like echoing condition, the lack of ceiling and
floor tiles. You get the gist.

The classrooms themselves do look a tad bit different.
The heaters and other hardware were painted a gray-
bluish slate color. New windows were installed.
Electrical outlets were added. Teachers were assigned
new rooming buddies. And schedules have been

Construction obviously is inconvenient, but it has
become a fact of life. Hopefully, five, 10 years down
the road -- when construction is complete -- we'll
reflect and see it was all worth it. Okay, so not really,
but we can always hope.
-- Merissa Mastropiero, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Friday, March 12, 1999

There I was in study hall, thinking about how I would
kill to be in Reece Witherspoon's position in her new
movie, with the slight buzzing from the
construction in the background, when all of a sudden
my daydreaming was interrupted by a construction
worker with a strong accent.

--- "Have any of you seen any loose wires around
here?" he asked the half-sleeping class.
--- "Well, there is a wire hanging from the ceiling by
the music hallway," I replied.
--- "Oh, that's nothing," he said. "Anyone else? ... OK,
thank you."

As I tried to go back to daydreaming, I couldn't help
thinking to myself: "Since when are wires hanging
from the ceiling not a hazard?"

Well, there goes this construction again, proving
another hazard wrong.  And I thought loose wires and
asbestos were hazardous. Silly me.  Oh well, I
wonder when the lunch bell is gonna ring.
-- Irene Sitilides, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Monday, March 15, 1999

So, they opened up the "refinished" hallways. Believe
it or not, I was actually expecting to see some
improvement! Silly me.

I was disappointed to see that some of the floors still
had no tiles; there were no new lockers, they were
simply painted over; there were no ceilings, only a
few tiles scattered here and there to hang light fixtures
from. There aren't even WALLS in one of the rooms,
only a huge partition to separate the classes.

Believe me, it's hard enough to concentrate on what
your own teacher is saying without having to listen to
someone else's lesson, as well.
-- Natalie Minor, freshman, Bristol Eastern High School

Wednesday, March 17, 1999

Today I was on my way to my science class, which
happens to be on the second floor,  when I saw a
woman going down the hall looking rather lost. I
slowed down to see if i could be of any help.

Woman: "Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to
the other classes on this floor?"

Me: "Well, all the connector hallways are closed
down, so you have to go all the way down to the
basement, across this hall and back up the stairs."

Woman: "Huh?"

Me:(sigh) "Hold on, I'll walk you there, I know it's
-- Suzanne Gregorczyk, freshman, Bristol Central High School

Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Italian test. There are no rules. He says there are no
rules. You just have to KNOW. An electrical cracking
from the PA system"

"Um, students and teachers, you may notice some
smoking in the area of room 127. We've just asked
them to stop welding and we will properly vent the
area. No need for concern."

Next to me, the blonde in the Grateful Dead t-shirt
halts her struggle with the subject/verb agreement long
enough to grumble.

She: "Yeah, sure. It's chemical. I was there, man. It
was all over the place. 'Properly vent the area?'
Nobody gives a damn."

Italian teacher: "In Italian, Gina."

Me: "I do. I give a damn. There are damns to be

Teacher: "In Italiano, Guissepe."

She: "Well, what are you going to do about it?"

Teacher: "In Italiano, Gina."

Me (to teacher): "How do you say 'hold my breath and
weep' in Italiano?"
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Monday, April 5, 1999

Eastern is beginning to resemble a mythical futuristic
technology hall. The echoes, tracks of metal segments
running along the ceiling with small yellow caged
lights peeking in between, sounds of drills and rolling
carts from above and yellow warning bands scattered
across the school all add to the ambiance. It's almost
like spending your day in an abandoned sewer or
underground passageway.  It's rather scary, actually.
But, c'est la vie. It's our reality.
-- Merissa Mastropiero, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Wednesday, April 7, 1999

"Students should prepare themselves for the temperatures
throughout the building." This has been Eastern's
thematic statement for the year. But how are we suppose
to prepare, when the temperature of each section of the
school is a constant unpredictable mystery? Even more
boggling is the fact that the last couple of days, teachers
have had to open windows to let heat into the school.
Further, any effort made to raise temperatures are
affected mainly by massive gangs of teachers and
students whining to administration. I just pray for
springtime conditions bringing more amiable conditions.
-- Merissa Mastropiero, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Friday, April 9, 1999

Nearly eight months since construction started and the
third section of hallways are expected to be remodeled
sometime during spring vacation. This means schedule
changes and new locker assignments. I'm kind of use to
it by now, though, since my study hall room has
changed about four times in the last month.
-- Merissa Mastropiero, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Monday, April 26, 1999

An open letter:
Dear Contractors, I'll admit, we were skeptical. We
thought we might never get our chemistry lab back from
you hard-hat toting construction types. Heck, we decided
way back in November, when you extended the
December 1st return date a month, that it looked a little
hopeless. And then when you said it would be after
February break, we had to wonder. And of course, your
lackof consistency did trouble us a bit when you aimed
for April.
But boy were we surprised when the last week in April
hit and you called "Phase 1" of our nine phase process
complete with a capitol "C". Wow.
I have to tell you, other kids still have doubts. But we're
not worried. So what if our chemistry lad has no running
water? Who cares that the counters don't have tops, and
there aren't chairs to sit on? And it doesn't even bother
us that all you've appeared to have done is paint the
walls a brighter shade of white! We love it!
Thanks so much for our chemistry lab. The waiting was
(and still is) worth it.
-- Amanda Lehmert, senior, Bristol Central High School

Wednesday, May 12, 1999

While taking a quiz on The Great Gatsby in English
class, in the new hallway, what do we hear over our
teacher's voice? The voices of freshmen girls next door,
arguing over who's the cutest boy. Oh, now they've
quieted down, but we hear the theme song of "Dirty
Dancing."  I don't know what kind of modern, state-of-
the-art walls we've got now, but I can hear more than
before the renovations.
-- Hila Yosafi, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Friday, May 14, 1999

When I sat down to take the very important U.S. History
Advanced Placement exam (which, if I do well, could
save me money and time in college) at my assigned seat
next to the window, I saw the light.

But this was a bad light.  The sun shone in my eyes, as
well as everybody else in my row for the almost 4 hours
of this rigorous exam. I wonder how many schools in
the nation where students took this exam that morning
took it in a room full of windows with no blinds?

Someone should have taken the responsibility to at least
tack up some bed sheets like some of our teachers are
forced to do. With the millions spent on renovations,
why can't we spend mere hundreds on blinds for a better
learning environment? On top of that, there were a
couple of false fire alarms (from the construction
workers, probably) while we were finishing the test.
-- Hila Yosafi, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

Thursday, May 20, 1999

On the way to lunch:
ME: "Do you smell that?"
SHE: "It's not me."
ME: "I didn't say it was you."
SHE: "Good. Because it isn't."
ME: "Well what is it?"
SHE: "I don’t know. It's ... fishy."
ME: "Do you think it's a conspiracy?
SHE: "No ... fishy. Like mackerel or bass. Really fishy."
ME: "Who's on first?"
SHE: "I hope it isn't lunch."
ME: "It can't be."
SHE: "It could be. Sure it could. Why not?"
ME: "Processed meat doesn't swim."
SHE: "You've never looked closely, have you?"
ME: "Stop this. Stop this now."

I'm not sure how it's possible, or why it's happened, but
somehow the leaking roofs and ceilings have filled the
halls with a faintly fishy smell. Not peculiar --literally

It's like an open air market, the wet insulation hanging
from the exposed walls of the corridors and puddles
swelling outside my English class. It's really sort of
distressing. But it's not the food.
-- Joe Wilbur, junior, Bristol Eastern High School

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