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Why Can't Seniors Paint a Parking Spot?

For those who don’t know, a painted parking spot is a popular tradition within high schools across the nation, in which seniors pay to have the ability to paint their very own parking spot. You might have seen such images on social media sites such as TikTok or Pinterest, where individuals paint parking spots with whatever they can imagine.

But then one is left to wonder: Why doesn’t North Scott have this availability for our seniors? 

Maybe it's because the students aren't interested? But that is not the case. I sent out a form asking people whether they wished that they had the option to paint a parking spot in their senior year, and 85.4% of respondents reported “yes", showing that there is a definite desire for students to paint a parking spot of their own.

One anonymous student even said, “I saw this on Pinterest and absolutely loved the idea. It's something fun and creative that would solve many problems at the same time. Seniors could design it however they want and show their personalities while also having a spot to call their own. It's simple, harmless, and a great way to build school spirit and a sense of belonging in the students.”

Even further, over half of the respondents answered that they felt as if they were missing out on a “senior experience” by not having the ability to paint a parking spot.

"I feel like getting to see a lot of other seniors getting to express themselves is something that all seniors should have the chance to do."—Anonymous

Not only that, but many students believed that these painted parking spots have the possibility of solving another problem: parking. One senior responded, “There are always freshmen in the lifting or band lot; this makes it impossible for seniors coming and going to class to get a decent parking spot. If seniors had designated spots to paint, it would not only secure them a spot but give the other grades something to look forward to when they are seniors.” 81.8% of the students who drive themselves to school reported having experienced difficulty parking in the school lot, and 68.9% went on to respond that they believed that painted parking spots for seniors had the possibility of fixing these parking issues.

But if the majority of North Scott students are in favor of painted parking spots, why can’t seniors paint them? So, I posed Mr. Marceau with some questions in regards to this subject:


Q: Do you know why North Scott doesn’t have the option for seniors to paint a parking spot? 

Mr. Marceau: “I've got a couple schools of thought on this: the first one is that we don't have assigned parking spots by students. The biggest reason is because we did that 7-8 years ago, where we went out and numbered every parking spot, and every senior and junior got a parking spot. Sophomores got what was left, and freshmen parked in the freshman lot.”


He went on to explain that the issue with that system was that if even one person parked in someone else's spot, it became a domino effect of every student parking in the wrong spot. Overall, it just became too hectic to manage. He also brought up how it’d be tricky with the amount of snow Iowa gets. As the parking lot gets plowed, certain parking spots are often covered up with snow. This creates the possibility of certain parking spots along the edge of the lot being unable to be used. Seniors also have a flexible schedule at North Scott, and many are only present for a couple class periods. This would leave empty parking spots that could be used by someone else. 


“The idea of decorating a parking spot, I understand, especially as someone who would love to see a piece of concrete that is currently just striped with yellow look more presentable. That would be wonderful. The logistics behind it being this parking spot for the entire year becomes kind of a pain, and then cleaning it, keeping it, and maintaining it year after year just wears it.” said Marceau.


Q: Could a potential solution be having students pay to paint a parking spot? 

Mr. Marceau: "My initial thought is no. Part of the reason is that there's already a bit of a divide in terms of the 'haves' and the 'have nots' between the seniors who have the ability to get their driver's permit and their family who have a car that they can allow them to use every day, so there’s already that unspoken privilege division. And then we’re also going to add another layer of 'can I afford to pay for a painted parking spot?'"


Q: Have there ever been discussions of other ways seniors could customize things around the school? Like ceiling tiles, or even just painting parking spots that aren’t restricted to one student?

Mr. Marceau: “Discussion? No. I know that there were a lot of discussions in regards to painting the ceiling tiles when I went to school here. But it becomes a bit of a logistical issue as teachers leave certain classrooms and ceiling tiles get left behind. I think one of the coolest things we’ve tried to incorporate here has been the wall murals, like the one in the Spanish Hallway or near the locker rooms.”


Q:Could seniors' ability to customize something be a future possibility for North Scott?

Mr. Marceau: “Yes, I believe if it was presented in the right way and was trying to build the community and culture here at North Scott, then I think that it would certainly have to be considered. I also don’t know the logistics of painting concrete here in Iowa, especially in regards to the weather. But I don’t see why we wouldn’t at least consider it.“

Overall, it is clear that a desire for some sort of self expression for seniors is present within the student body. If you are passionate about seniors painting something, try writing up a proposal! Don't be afraid to use your voice to advocate for ideas you wish to see in the community.

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