One Student’s Idea to Transform La Serna High School

Turning La Serna into a School Full of Escape Rooms

One Student’s Idea to Transform La Serna High School

Jenah Ridgill, Contributor

Let´s turn La Serna into a stimulating environment that encourages students to push themselves physically and mentally in order to overcome a challenge that will keep everyone involved accomplishing tasks previously seen as impossible. Innovation and progress in society is fueled by students striving and straining to succeed at goals, not to set limits. I am talking about turning all of the class rooms in La Serna into escape rooms.

Students sit lazily in class, half asleep and half day dreaming, numbly working on busy work. Then, the bell for the end of class rings. But instead of students filing out the door with their brains asleep to go to another class, the doors lock. The windows slam shut and bars drop down over them. An alarm sounds and the announcement bell rings. A voice on the intercom explains to the students that they can’t leave the classroom until they solve a series of riddles and puzzles, each one leading them a step closer to opening the door. Sound familiar? This is an escape room.

To gain more insight to what an escape room is, the writer interviewed Mr. Jonathan Turner, a La Serna High School teacher by day and an escape room artist by night.

Q: What exactly is an escape room?

A:  An escape room is a series of puzzles or tests that one has to complete. So essentially you are given an hour to get out of a locked room, and in order to do so you have to open various locks and keys by solving puzzles and stuff like that.

Q: That’s pretty cool. So would you describe this as a fun activity?

A: Uh, yes, depending on your friend group [chuckle], you can either be super stressed out or if your friends like mental challenges, then it’s pretty rewarding.

Q: Tell me what would you think, if we were to implement escape rooms in all the classrooms in La Serna?

A: I opened up my school year this year by doing an escape room; it’s called Break Out Edu. I’m for [escape rooms] because obviously I enjoy [them], so I would be down for that but there needs to be a mix of content, like mix learning concepts with the idea of breaking out.  Just because they’re fun doesn’t mean we should implement them. We need to make sure that there is a mixture of content the teachers are trying to explain.

Q: So like a science class would have a science themed escape room?

A: Yes.

Q: So what would you say in the situation where the bell rings, and instead of having say an hour to get out of the escape room, you would have six minutes?

A: Six minutes?

Q: And you have to get out or else you’d be late to your next class.

A: Uuhhh…well..I’m not sure of what the purpose is. Because that sounds like it would stress out the students to get to class on time.

Q: Not stress but a challenge? Like you really want to push them so they can grow, what would you think of that?

A: I think that would be not the appropriate time to do that because it would also be effecting the next teacher’s class. I think it would be interesting to have six minute challenges, but maybe not between classes. I think instead of it being fun it’s actually a stress thing because it’s affecting their lives. Part of the escape room feeling is the sense of accomplishment you get, like a fantasy of some sort. Like if you don’t escape then you’re not trapped in the room forever.

Mr. Turner, our escape room expert, makes an excellent point about why converting every classroom in La Serna into an escape room may be a bad idea. However,  there are various reasons why a few escape rooms on campus could be beneficial to all involved:

1.) Improved Creativity: students engage in competitive problem solving skills, giving La Serna students an edge over students who never experience an escape room.

2.) Better Focus: students focus their mind, body, and soul on solving problems that affect everyone in their daily lives.

3.) Goal-Minded: The mind is changed to become one that is goal-oriented.

4.) Fun: Escape rooms are fun for everyone involved.