Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eliot School: Polished

I'm not going to show you every picture I took at Eliot School. I took a lot. We'll take a Zen Monday break tomorrow then I'll show you a couple more favorites. But first I have to show you the cafeteria.

Lake Avenue historian Dale Trader tells me the architect of Eliot School was the one and only Sylvanus Marston. Although the Pacific Coast Architect Database lists every other project of his I can think of, it doesn't list Eliot School. Then again, PCAD is missing out--it doesn't list Eliot at all.

This cafeteria is polished to a shine. And kind of Dickensian, don't you think? I love it.

I love the institutional look, the basement-ness of it, the dim. It reminds me of the cafeteria in my junior high school, which made me feel like I was having my macaroni and cheese at the bottom of an empty swimming pool. I wonder how the current Eliot students feel about this room.

Principal Peter Pannell told us more than one movie has filmed in the cafeteria. (Eliot's often used for movies--a film crew was nosing about the premises that day.)

It was also in the cafeteria that Pannell told us he was an Eliot alum. His family had just moved to Altadena; he knew no one and the school "felt huge" to him. He had come from Detroit where he'd been going to a small, neighborhood school across the street from his home. Suddenly he was thrust into an institution that took up a whole city block and where all 1300 students were strangers. "I can tell you," he said, "the personal touch makes a difference."

Peter Pannell is a polished man, but that speech came unpolished, from the heart.


Loren of Hearken Creative tells us "most PUSD schools have tours similar to Elliot's; for instance, McKinley's is the first Wednesday of every month." Call the main office of the school that interests you to see if they offer a tour, or check with the Pasadena Education Network.

16 comments:

Shell Sherree said...

My, it certainly is shiny. I guess shiny usually equates with clean, which is a good thing. We have tuck shops here, as in "tucker" shops, where they sell food and the kids wander off to a favourite spot somewhere to eat. Parents can volunteer for tuck shop duty, something one escapes when one only has furry children.

Vanda said...

Concrete floor with a drain: perfect place for a food fight.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Dale Trader, aka Thal Armathura? Is that who you're talkin about, P?

Petrea said...

That tuck shot idea sounds fun and a little unstructured, Shell. At least for the kids, if not for the parents.

Vanda, I like the way you think.

That's the one, Cafe.

Susan C said...

I see that less than half of the overhead lights are actually lit. I wonder if that's by design to save energy or if they just need to replace the fluorescent bulbs.

pasadenapio said...

Eliot's principal is doing great things including the establishment of Room 13, a program of the Light Bringer Project (Tom Coston).

pasadenapio said...

I think I didn't link to Room 13 properly. It's http://lightbringerproject.com/programs-and-services.

Petrea said...

I didn't ask, Susan, but I noticed. My guess would be money/energy saving because most of the rooms we were in were under-lit, unlike the fluorescent classrooms of my day.

Oooh, yes, Ann, it is so cool. I'm saving my Room 13 pics for last.

Tash said...

Beautiful photo. I like the reportage and the one-topic series. Well done, P.

Petrea said...

Thanks, Tash. People have been quiet in the comments, though. Makes me think they disagree about the school. I wouldn't mind if they spoke up about that.

Katie said...

I'm finally getting around to commenting on this great Eliot School series. (I've been hanging out with Mme Benaut for a few days in SF!) I don't think about schools often as I don't have any kids, but you're right, even those of us without kids should care about the state of schools in our area. It sounds like Eliot School is a very interesting place (it sure looks cool inside and out!), and there are lots of caring people there who are working to make it a good school. I look forward to more photos and details about Eliot next week (after some Zen of course).

Virginia said...

As a former teacher I love a clean lunchroom!!
V

Susan said...

Don't know about the lighting; Measure TT is replacing some old lighting fixtures AND making energy efficiency improvements at schools around the District.

We've linked to your site from PEN's new Facebook page and from our weekly e-bulletin that went out this morning - hope it brings more traffic if not more comments your way!

Pascal Jim said...

I cannot perform whilst being observed.

Petrea said...

Katie, I'm so glad you got a visit with the famous Mme Benaut! Hope you had a good time.

As a former student, V, I do, too.

Thank you for the links, Susan, that's very kind of you.

Pascal Jim, I'll bet you meant to add that comment to a different post.

AmyR said...

Seems very ivy league like...quite majestic and sparse.