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Not the schools I used to know

August 29, 2014 - Nikki Younk
It’s amazing how quickly time flies and how much things change in that time. I was reminded of that twice this week.

On Monday, I had the pleasure of visiting Norway-Vulcan Area Schools, which I attended from kindergarten through my senior year of high school. Although the building itself is largely the same as when I left it 11 years ago, most everything else is different.

There are new teachers, new classes, and most of all, new technology. When I was a senior, we were still exploring the wonders of PowerPoint. Today, students are doing most of their work on their school-issued iPads — reading e-textbooks, watching teachers’ lessons online, using educational apps, and keeping in close contact with their teachers through e-mail. It’s a completely different world.

Later in the week, my thoughts turned to my other alma mater — the University of Michigan. I came across an MLive article about the recent $60 million renovation at South Quad, my old dorm building. The centerpiece of the project is a brand-new, state-of-the-art dining center that comes complete with a Mediterranean restaurant, breakfast bar, vegan restaurant, deli, smokehouse, and Asian restaurant.

This “dining center” is barely recognizable from the “cafeteria” I used to know. A “cafeteria” has plastic trays, hairnets, and casseroles. This new “dining center” looks like something out of Top Chef. Just check out the before and after photos at right, and check out the photos from the MLive article here.

In many ways, the upgrade is a great thing. I’d love to be a student now, enjoying all of those fancy food options. However, I wonder if I could even afford to be a student now. That $60 million for the renovation had to come from somewhere...



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The South Quad cafeteria as it looked waaay back in the mid-2000s.