Vikings revising: A look behind the new look


With the arrival of the new school year, Niles North has harbored noticeable changes that have been stirring buzzes among the student and staff body. You may still be wondering about the administration’s rationale for the modifications; if this is the case, then look no further.

(If you’re looking for information on the new security, click here to see a NSN article already covering this topic.)

The public reaction to the school changes has not been unanimous, with many seeing them as unnecessary to some degree. The fact that some of these changes were unannounced and took people by surprise did not help. While these perspectives aren’t to be completely invalidated, it’s important to see this matter from the perspective of the administration bringing forth the change.

Marlon Felton, NN’s assistant principal of buildings and operations and a key figure in the implementation of the school’s updates, held a press conference with North Star and SAGA (yearbook) early in the school year to further expound and give insight behind the updates.

The update of the school bell proved to be one of the most controversial, with complaints of the new bell being incredibly quiet or even completely non-functional in select areas being common. However, Felton still values its efficiency.

“The update was considered an upgrade to our old bell system,” Felton said. “In the past we had to update the bell system manually. We have since updated to a computer-based system.”

It was also reportedly a district-wide change, but debuted far later than schools such as Niles West. The NN bell was modified during D219’s summer classes.

Additionally, the auditorium has seen updates as coordinated with several key figures in the school’s fine arts department: Annaliisa Ahlman, theatre instructor, Daniel Gregerman, choral director, and Timothy Ortmann, fine arts director.

As explained, the upgrades were executed in hopes of recapturing an old spark; throughout the past 15-20 years, NN has had “the best sound system in a 20 to 30-mile radius,” according to Felton.

It was at this point that Felton named the crux for his thorough involvement in the school’s updates:  his care for hearing the opinions of the student body.

He strives towards this by means of working closely with Student Government to advise, monitor and supervise updates. Felton’s approach is as hands-on as possible – he enjoys walking around and helping out around the building.

It’s by this token that Felton drives home one of his important points: what these updates mean for students at their heart, and how they can react.

A short-term goal for the school through its updates is a boost in the morale of attending students and staff, as the changes will hopefully create a more inviting and incentivizing learning environment. As Felton sees it, the most efficient way that the school’s updates can be improved is through student and staff cooperation.

“Your best interests are prioritized,” Felton said.

We at North Star are not telling you to think a certain way about the updates, but hopefully this angle sheds some light on the matter in a way that furthers your understanding.

Featured image by Eli Frohmann-Matthews