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Escape Room Experience

by Josh Ramirez, LPC


Working in a school is a challenging experience. Almost daily, staff are faced with juggling a gamut of tasks. These range from fairly mundane, like helping teach how to tie shoes, to exceptionally taxing, such as preventing a full-blown behavioral meltdown. Thus, to fulfill this plethora of duties, school-based staff are required to possess and routinely utilize their problem-solving, innovative-thinking, team-working, and decision-making skills.

So, fittingly, to commemorate the end of the 2021-22 school year, Laurel life provided one last, albeit lighthearted, challenge for its school-based staff by sending them to the Do You Even Escape? escape rooms in Camp Hill. Fourteen staff members from Central Dauphin, Cumberland Valley, Steelton, West Shore, and Mechanicsburg school districts teamed up to put their wits to the test and see if they could solve the puzzles of three separate escape rooms.

Each room had unique theming and a specific goal to be achieved in under an hour. These included: attempting to find lifejackets to safely escape the sinking of the Titanic, trying to pull off the perfect diamond heist, and saving a saloon patron from being poisoned in the Wild West. To accomplish these goals, staff were required to solve diverse and complex puzzles linked to the fundamental differences of each room’s scenario.

As the one-hour time limit ticked away, staff were frantically deliberating, deciphering, decoding, and deconstructing in the search for the next clue that would lead to success. Tapping into all the mental resources they routinely use at school (and perhaps some they do not), staff members took on different roles to enhance their team’s functioning. Luckily, when the going got tough, staff were resourceful and utilized the helpful hints the room manager could provide via an intercom system. Thus, the challenge was on.

After about forty minutes, the first team completed their room. Cheers of success quickly turned to words of encouragement for the others. Shortly thereafter, the next team emerged from their room. This was it, two down, one to go.

With the pressure on, the final team found themselves in a race against the clock. Facing the most difficult of the three rooms, time had run down to only a minute remaining. Defeat seemed imminent, but the team persevered. It was then that an eruption of celebration emerged from the room. They had done it! And they had done it with six seconds to spare!

After enjoying the camaraderie of being escape room solvers, the group headed to Pizza Grille for a celebratory luncheon. This provided one final opportunity for conversation and laughter prior to the beginning of the break for summer.

Now the time has come to pause the problem-solving in turn for rest and relaxation. But make no mistake, come the fall, the Laurel Life School-Based Teams will be ready to jump back in and face the riddles, puzzles, and challenges that are ahead.