A Wrinkle In Time

Changes at Bronx Science over the past few decades.


Johan Wichterle

Located in the back of the cafeteria and marked by the characteristic verdant green color of its tables, the senior section of the student cafeteria is a popular social destination.

Once upon a time, Bronx Science had a cheerleading team. And a teacher’s cafeteria. And a senior lounge. And a non-virtual school store. And big green lockers with customizable locks. True story.

It’s funny to think about how much of Bronx Science was quite different, only ten years ago,”  Joachim Romanosky ‘19 said.

Eight years ago, the Bronx Science Cheerleading Team met every Monday afternoon for practice. The team regularly attended Bronx Science athletics games as a means of adding more school spirit to the games. School Aide Ms. Roberta Mitchell served as faculty advisor to this club, and with her retirement, as well as waning student interest in cheerleading, the Cheerleading Team disbanded.

And yes, there once was a teacher’s cafeteria. Decades ago, numerous teachers purchased lunch in it daily, making it sustainable. As time passed, fewer and fewer faculty members chose to purchase their lunch in it, making it unsustainable financially. In an effort to make the room utilized to a fuller extent and to support current students’ needs, the space was transformed into the Student Wellness Center, serving as a weight room for students to use during their Physical Education classes and after school.

And those large lockers? Years ago, all underclassmen students had to share them, given that there were not enough of them in the building for the student body. It was mandatory to share them for all students who were not seniors. Here too, the administration stepped in and funded their replacement with smaller lockers, allowing every student to have an individual locker.

Personal lockers were not the only advantage that seniors had over the rest of the school population. The senior lounge, located where the green senior tables are today, was likewise a restricted amenity. However, it was severely neglected and misused by the students, so much so that it was abruptly terminated. Mr. Lee, a teacher in the Biology department, affirmed, “The seniors did not take care of it. It didn’t feel like they owned it.” At any rate, gone are the stuffed sofas of years past, replaced by the familiar cluster of green tables, which are easier for the cafeteria workers to clean and keep sanitized.

2010 Yearbook Observatory
The Bronx Science Cheerleading Team, circa 2010, also nicknamed “The Divas,” strikes a pose for the camera.

There also used to be a school store. It was a physical store in the building, dating to the days before the internet changed the way we purchase things. This store required staffing by school aides and teachers, taking up valuable time that they could have spent on other matters, and it was difficult to keep clothing sizes in stock in all sizes.  The administration, in consultation with Ms. Coufos, Vice President of the Alumni Foundation, made a decision to find an online vendor, one that could provide Bronx Science branded items for sale to both current students and alumni. The advantages of this are legion:  students and alumni can access all items with a few clicks of a button at their convenience, 24/7, and  all clothing items are in stock at all times in all sizes. In addition, all items can be shipped to a home address or business address (for students’ parents and alumni).

Academic classes at Bronx Science have also changed with the passage of time, to reflect current students’ interests, advances in scientific fields, or current faculty members’ expertise. Some of the classes that existed over ten years ago (and no longer do) were ‘Scientific Instrumentation,’ ‘The Bible as Literature,’ ‘Technical Drawing,’ ‘Television Production,’ and ‘Poetry.’ 

It’s funny to think about how much of Bronx Science was quite different, only ten years ago,”  Joachim Romanosky ‘19 said.

Most of the academic changes at Bronx Science have largely been made due to the increased prominence of advanced technology in our current world. “Ten years ago, technology outpaced what was in the classroom,” said Mr. Lee, regarding the phased out ‘Bioethics,’ ‘Traditional Biochemistry,’ and ‘Mechanical Drafting’ courses. Over the past ten years, the administration and Alumni Foundation have updated numerous science laboratories, technological labs, digital music labs, and computer labs, with state-of-the-art computers, which help to augment students’ educational experiences.

In all departments, the classroom curriculum over the past ten years has become more focused on current students’ needs. Advanced Placement Biology courses have always stressed critical thinking skills, but now, analysis is emphasized more than ever, to prepare students for what they will encounter in college in this field. World Language classes now prioritize student discussion over lectures. 

Yet, there are just some things that never change. Eighteen years prior, The Class of 2000 had made prophecies about the future of Bronx Science, and published those in their yearbook. The slated year? 2020.

Credit: 2000 Observatory Yearbook 
Entitled ‘A Wrinkle In Time,’ this unique time capsule contained a series of eight school circumstances that existed back in 2000, juxtaposed with eight corresponding predictions.

At the end of the day (or decades), it appears that Bronx Science has not yet moved to the moon. Or added an Advanced Placement Lunch wing. But one can dream. There will always be the year 2038.