Juniors Organize "Escape the Room" Challenge for Middle School

By Ilana Laurence, Dean of Student Life

Tasked with the mission to inspire ever more opportunities for cross-campus collaboration, this year’s cohort of Junior Peer Leaders worked to create a custom “Escape the Room” challenge for 5th-8th graders that was held at the HS campus on Friday afternoon, March 6.
11th graders invented the premise of the activity: the Grace Gremlin, former school mascot that has since been deposed by the Griffin, had in fact been living in the walls of Grace Church School ever since its demise. There had been a plan in place to summon the Gremlin to appear at a MS basketball game last week as a surprise, but alas, the great Gremlin was nowhere to be found, and had disappeared without a trace. Since teachers were the only ones who knew of the plan, and of the Gremlin’s whereabouts, students had no choice but to surmise that a teacher must be the guilty party in the kidnapping of our formerly beloved Gremlin. The question was: which teacher kidnapped the mascot and how would the students escape the classrooms to rescue it from its fate??
Fifty-five MS students were picked up at dismissal on Friday by a handful of peer leaders, and walked over to the HS for a pizza/dance party in the lower commons while the remaining peer leaders rushed to set up the 7 classrooms being used for the activity. The juniors had created a detailed script for each pair of peer leaders to follow, and they decorated each room with streamers, disco lights, puzzles and decoys in anticipation of the challenge. Each room was outfitted with riddles to solve, balloons to pop, safe combinations to decode, and extra clues that had been secretly hidden around each classroom. With a 60-minute time limit for the activity, students rushed off in groups of 8 to solve the mystery of the missing Gremlin with the guidance of their peer leaders.  One group finished well ahead of the others and raced back downstairs, gleeful to discover the old Gremlin had been rescued, and was waiting to congratulate them. All the other groups quickly followed suit, and everyone escaped with time to spare. Full of vim and vigor, MS students were dismissed at 5:30, while the fatigued 11th graders huddled in the front lobby to recover, whispering to one another, “wow, middle school kids sure do have a lot of energy!” 
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Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for nearly 800 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.