Fifth Floor: The Seven-Floor Project

By Fanta Kaba

Angst is a teenage necessity molded into the faces of every senior exiting the College Office. They carry dissected tear-stained personal statements hidden in their bags and a realistic talk-to heavy in their hearts. While the pressure of an uncertain future settles in the deepest parts of their minds and the pain of rejection illuminates from their phones, the 5th floor carries the heaviest energy of all its counterparts.

Though it may not be as exciting as the 4th or the 1st and definitely not the 7th, the 5th floor harbors a part of the Beacon mind that can’t be imitated or disguised, anxiety. The tortuous buzzword swarming a colony of Beacon students nests in radiant yellow lockers and stings. It’s in constantly locked bathrooms, college flags, and AP S.T.E.M. classes that plague an already ailing population of students.

Although these qualities contribute to the 5th floor’s essence, they fail to capture its allure. The beauty of the 5th floor lies not in the color, cadence, or creativity of the students frequenting the floor; it relies solely on its own unapologetic authenticity. It holds no captives and forces every student to trek up the stairs and face the difficulty of its S.T.E.M. classes.

Upon entering the 5th floor, you may notice its brightness compared to the rest. The only floor displaying a wall garnished with college flags and bright yellow lockers, which is why students with lockers on the 5th floor take pride in where they’ve staked their claim. Carmen Gasper describes the floor as “chill” and not as “packed as every other floor.” In comparison to every other floor, it’s clear that students on the 5th floor have a mutual respect for each other or “decorum” as Nana Boyake puts it.

Obviously the angst of the 5th floor isn’t the only quality the yellow lockers secure behind their metallic prison. There are several personalities that every Beacon student has encountered that the 5th floor proudly houses: Mr. Traglio, Ms. Skostack, Mr. McKenna, and Ms. Diran.

I’ll start with a Beacon favorite: Ms. Diran, the AP Biology and Environmental Science teacher. Ms. Diran is known for her unique personality and amusing statements that keep Beacon students talking. Next door Ms. Skostack teaches biology and forensics –well known for her out-of-pocket jokes and hilarious relatability. Across the floor resides Mr. Traglio’s Algebra 2 and economics classes, you may overhear his rants about the ever-declining American economy and phone addictions as you walk to the stairwell. Last but not least is Mr. McKenna, whose class sits right next to the College Office, teaching all kinds of biology. Everyone who has had Mr. McKenna’s class knows an amusing anecdote about his storytelling or his beautiful classroom with animals and plants.

After dark, the 5th floor continues to light up the building. Every basketball player going to their locker after practice is serenaded with blasting music from Beacon’s beloved janitors.

Though every floor makes Beacon, I believe the 5th floor beautifully encapsulates all parts, the good and the bad.