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GBMS students locker check-out artful affair
new vlc locker fashion 2
Seventh grade students at GBMS checked out lockers on Thursday, Aug. 9. Several took the opportunity to do some wild makeovers on the bland interiors with assorted items. Wrapping paper was a popular wall paper, and in addition to magnets and mirrors, some pushed the envelope with things like mini-chandeliers or curtains of hanging dots. Principal David Reiser greeted students with a warm smile as they arrived. - photo by VERONICA COONS Great Bend Tribune

Step back to 1984.  It’s school registration, and you’re issued your new locker.  You stop by, make sure the combination works, and you head for home.  The first day of school, you stop at the locker to drop off your supplies and check out who’s assigned to the lockers next to you, and head to class.  The locker was where you kept your stuff.  Maybe you’d put up a mirror, a calender or a magnet or two.  Maybe a photo of your boyfriend.
Skip forward to today.  Great Bend Middle School students came to the school on Thursday to check out lockers for the 2012-2013 school year, and for most, it was not simply a five minute affair. The locker has now become another space to decorate.  It’s a fashion statement and a place for self expression.  
“It’s their personal space now,” said GBMS Principal David Reiser.  
Kids come with decorating supplies, including wrapping paper, tape, shelves, mirrors, magnets and magnet strips, storage tins, photos, and various other knick-knacks and baubles.  According to one middle school office worker, a small, locker-sized chandelier was even sighted.  The trend started a few years ago, according to Reiser.  
Take a look at the Back-to-School section of your local department store, or search online for locker decor, and you’ll find a wide variety of looks, from glam to sporty.  There are companies that specialize in the trend, like Locker Lookz, which advertises a magnetic motion sensor locker lamp with a zebra pink shade for a mere $27 and change, as well as an aqua blue rug for about $12.  
To spruce up the dull gray or beige interior of the average locker, some use wallpaper, while others purchase special locker skins or use fabric or create floor to ceiling collages of photographs of friends and family to greet them between classes.  As long as the lockers are not permanently marred or obviously obscene, just about anything goes.
Girls aren’t the only ones who decorate.  Boys decorate with sports photos or DANGER signs, and shelves.  The decor is by far less elaborate, but generally offers a chance for self expression.  
One thought that may relieve parents who are also facing the annual stock up on school supplies, paying fees, and carving out room in their budgets for new clothes and shoes for their ever-growing kids - items like shelves and mirrors and magnets can be reused again next year.