Staff and students make school a happy place

By Maggie Stephens, Staff Writer — “I’ll see you next time which will be THE BEST TIME.”

These words rang out through the entire building. For the first time, the school was silent listening to afternoon announcements. Small smirks filled students faces. Students were waiting to listen to junior Paul Murray’s version of the announcements.

Murray did the announcements for a week straight during November. He was able to add his own little twist to the broadcast.

“I just thought it would be fun to do and maybe people would listen and find it entertaining. A lot of people have told me that they like it so I must be doing all right,” Murray said.

Many students felt it was a positive way to end the school day with some needed happiness and enthusiasm. In doing so, he was able to draw the attention of almost every student and faculty member within the building.

“Paul Murray’s announcements are the highlight of my day and the day is not the same without them. He makes everyone smile and actually listen,” junior Austin Wayt said.

Murray hoped that his announcements would bring happiness to the student body.

Happiness is something most Americans long to find but cannot. In America, 40 million adults are affected by some type of an anxiety disorder. About 14.8 million of those 40 million adults suffer from a Major Depressive Disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. However, each day staff members and students work to be happy and make others happy.

“Happiness is appreciating what you have in life, while at the same time trying to embrace new challenges” teacher Jennifer Austin said.

Austin is described by her students as a very bubbly and happy person. Students say she treats each student with a high level of happiness and respect. When students perform at their best on tests and quizzes, students can expect some type of reward. Even stickers on papers can bring a small ounce of joy into the classroom.

“When teachers are happy in the classroom it brightens my mood. It shows that the teacher wants to be there and that makes me want to be there, too. Mrs Austin has this effect on her students,” senior Magaly Harfouche said.

Austin takes pride in the happiness she portrays to her students. It comes easy to her because she sees things in a positive way.

“Yes, I try to be happy. We all have difficult days but I try to see the positive in a situation,” Austin said.

Many students feel the same way about video production teacher Josh Branch.

“Life is difficult at times, but try to find the joy in the journey rather than wishing you’re at the next goal,” Branch said.

He brings the holidays in by playing Christmas music aloud for all of his students to listen to and enjoy. Being the teacher of the video production career tech, the students are open to some interpretation when they work on videos. Branch is able to use his words of happiness to motivate the students to always go above and beyond.

“Happiness tends to be based on your environment and surroundings. Joy is finding positivity in happy and unhappy situations,” Branch said.

Branch tries to get to know each student on a personal level. Being able to connect with students and get to know them really helps to make the classroom a happier environment. Students feel safe and comfortable in a classroom where they know they can talk to their teacher and relate to each other in similar situations.

“Mr. Branch is a really good teacher because he makes everyone happy by creating a happy classroom environment. If the whole class is happy, then we all like to turn our work in and get things done on time,” senior Bree Leagel said.

Happiness is a term that is interpreted differently from person to person. An individual could have all the money in the world but be equally as unhappy as someone who has no money.

“I think generally no, the world is not a happy place. But I think there are glimpses of happiness that are seen and I think because of this, there is joy,” Branch said.

Teachers like Branch and Austin have positivity that students recognize and appreciate, things that make school worth while. Students like Murray are able to make their peers laugh by doing something silly like dancing around goofily or presenting the announcements in a funny manner.

The smallest actions of peers and teachers go a long way, especially in the school.

[Updated Aug. 8, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]