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Michiana high school students create escape rooms for class

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NILES, Mich. – Students at Niles New Tech High School hope a class project teaches the community about history and gives people something to do.

In February, Niles New Tech teachers, Nicholas Hawley and Kristin Adams-Bondy, challenged their students to create escape rooms based off of what they learned in class about the Cold War and the Salem Witch Trials.

“We wanted to tie and make a connection with that this year in doing something where escaping fear and escaping the paradigm,” said Hawley.

Students in each class worked in small groups to create puzzles, that when put together, would help people escape the room they’re in.

“We kind of had no idea where to start,” said sophomore Emma Ramijo. “Like should we be trying to figure out like all of the historical details first or like what the escape room is going to look like”

“I don’t enjoy history that much but I did enjoy learning about the Salem witch trials, it was really, really fun to just go in depth,” said sophomore Lilly Jackson.

With a little bit of help from Andrew Irwin, who owns Escape the Cell in Niles, the students created two challenging, history-filled escape rooms.

“I think creating something and seeing it come into something or grow into something, is something that not a lot of students get to benefit from, but is very useful,” said Irwin. “That’s real life. Real life is, whether you’re a project manager or a leader of sorts, put something in your head, let your creative juices flow, and then create it and then see it happen.”

“When projects are more engaging to students, they’ll definitely remember the topic like a lot more than if like if the students were just being lectured,” said sophomore Melody Balog.

People can now test their knowledge and problem-solving skills through June and unlock an impact far beyond the classroom.

“Definitely gives me a sense of like greater accomplishment,” said Jackson.

“It’s really cool to see how the thing that we worked really hard on is out and open and people are doing the escape room all the time,” said Ramijo.

The Cold War breakout is available now through May 17. The Salem Witch Trial breakout is set to open May 20 and run through June 5.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at escapethecell.com

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