With design studios in both K-12 and higher education, back-to-school season is a busy and exciting time for our team. This year, some of our staff members reminisced on their favorite grade-school memories. Read their sweet, funny, and surprising stories below!


Laura Hardin

Laura Hardin – Senior Interior Designer

What made school the most memorable was that my mom was also a teacher there, so I got to know all the teachers very well and even rode to school with my kindergarten teacher at times. My most influential teacher I would have to say was my fourth grade teacher Miss. Butler. She was stern and disciplined, but I felt she understood me, and I never got called out in her class like most of the other kids did.


Cindy McLoed

Cindy McLoed – Senior Project Architect

I wrote my first love letter in first grade! The little boy couldn’t read it, so he took it to the teacher who read it out loud to the whole class! I crawled under my desk! I didn’t like him anymore after that.



Chris Hawk

Chris Hawk – HVAC Mechanical Engineer

My mother managed to convince myself and a lot of my friends to participate in the school talent show in fourth grade. We ran around and danced to Milli Vanilli with keyboards in our hands. Unfortunately, it was video recorded…but I really hope that it doesn’t surface.



Sarah Hempstead

Sarah Hempstead – CEO, Principal

I loved school, and third grade was my favorite. I had the nicest teacher, and it was the start of books worth reading. Every first day of school picture I have looks ridiculous, though, as we always had to bring in paper towels. For some reason, I didn’t put them down for the photo!



Steve Alspaugh

Steve Alspaugh – Design Architect

In sixth grade, I had my first male teacher, Mr. Davis. He was firm, but he also smiled and laughed a lot. I wish I’d had a chance to talk to a lot of my teachers later in life and thank them. They meant a lot to me.



Morgan Sizemore

Morgan Sizemore – Communications and Digital Media Specialist

As a kid, I always loved Halloween time—who doesn’t like getting dressed up and getting a bunch of free candy? But I specifically remember transforming into a scarecrow in my grandma’s kitchen with my mom for the 1st grade dress-up day at school. I got so many compliments on my dedication to creepy poses and the fake straw stuffing. I thought it was so cool to dress up as something fun every year for school, showing off (my mom’s) creativity to all my classmates. And now I happen to work in an office that also embraces dressing up for Halloween, so the tradition lives on!



Meghan Miller

Meghan Miller – Architectural Graduate

In fifth grade at Southwest Elementary, I was in a large, rowdy class. I think we had almost 30 students which is a HUGE number of students for one teacher to manage. I was a very shy, quiet kid whose mother worked in the high school just a few yards away, so with the fear of immediate and unpleasant punishment I was always on my best behavior (and a bit of a teacher’s pet to be quite honest). One day when it was time for Library, my class was loud as always, but I was engrossed in a very good book, so I never said a peep. Come recess, my class lost their privilege to go out to recess, except for me. Mrs. Havens (my 5th grade teacher) asked who wasn’t talking in Library today. I raised my hand, and my table mates vouched for my good behavior. So I was the only one out of a class of 30 to go outside.



Eddie Layton

Eddie Layton – Architect, Project Manager

I was a pretty good speller as a kid. In first grade, I made it to the final of the school spelling bee. However, I often had a problem in school when I would get in a hurry to finish things and make careless mistakes. Well, this was one of those times. I was so confident I knew how to spell the word “W-E-N-T” that I boldly stepped up to the microphone and promptly spelled “W-A-N-T.” It took me a minute to even realize that I had made a mistake because I was so sure I had spelled it right!”



John Harrison

John Harrison – Plumbing Designer

While saying the pledge of allegiance in fourth grade, I said, “Oh can you see my eyes, if you can then my hair’s too short.”  I had to stand in the corner, but the whole class broke into laughter.



Megan Scott

Megan Scott – Marketing Manager

I loved back-to-school and riding my bike to and from school every day. I learned how to ride my bike and steer with no hands the year this photo was taken. It was pretty exciting and something I can no longer do!



Kathryn Roche – Interior Design Intern

Here is a photo of me from kindergarten. I look thrilled to be there, right? Apparently, I cut my bangs myself the night before, despite the direction from my mother to not do so. Immediately after, of course, I was in tears because I did have full fringe and was left with small pieces that parted from the middle.