I like the idea of covering the desk with fun contact paper, or a map. The cover could be changed as the desk's owner grows up, too.
I probably wouldn't get a lot of work done sitting side by side with a friend, but that doesn't stop me from loving how this looks.
I think my big problem in high school was that my desk just wasn't big enough. I think it's smart to use a bigger table (or two) in place of a traditional desk - it provides much more room to spread out.
I'm a big fan of bulletin boards all over, but I think they're especially logical around a desk. They're a perfect spot for calendars and schedules and little reminders.
This spot takes the bulletin board feel a step further. As a teenager, I would've found this totally inspiring. A little distracting, maybe, but mostly inspiring.
I like the idea of a chalkboard over the desk, too. It's a perfect spot for Mom-like messages...
My desks were always tucked away in my bedroom, but placing kids' desks in a central spot in the house isn't a bad idea, either.
When all else fails, go bright with the surroundings. That'll keep the kids awake!