Saint Francis uncovers a “puzzling” new gem

by Kate Vandehey (’24) | October 7, 2022

Photography by Hailey Harris (’24)

For some students, libraries are just places to study or collaborate, but Saint Francis has a secret gem tucked between its bookshelves. As librarian Ms. Yang calls it, this group is the perfect place “for students to come [relax and] take their mind off some of their day-to-day stresses.” The addition of a puzzle table to the library last year has created a special space for students to take a break or spend time with friends while having fun. 

The puzzles are open to everyone, and students are free to stop by and work on the current puzzle during morning collaborations, free periods, or after school. Some students visit the table frequently, which Ms. Yang appreciates: “I love seeing the excitement that people have working on the puzzles and the sense of accomplishment that they get from doing it.”

Since the puzzles are always available, “a lot of people drift in and out” when they have the time to stop by, according to Dominique Del Rosario (’24). She also notes that while she usually works on the puzzles with friends, the group is fairly diverse, and “other students in different grades, different friends groups” work on the puzzles as well. “People do sports, and they do the puzzles late [in the evening], and in the morning there are more pieces in,” Del Rosario explains.  

While the people working on the puzzles rotate throughout the day, many students praise the environment at the table, with Kimi Mitsunaga (’24) describing it as “pretty chill [and overall] a good hang out spot.” Maggie Forrest (’26) spoke similarly about the atmosphere and recalled some of her time at the table: “We were doing a Lord of the Rings puzzle, and I was getting a lot of pieces in. And we were all talking about stuff, and it was just a fun time to hang out.”

The puzzles are an activity for many to take a break with, but for some, like Rachel Yang (’24), the puzzles offer a competitive challenge. Yang states, “Last semester, we started speed running this one hundred piece puzzle of America and some animals, [and] so far, our fastest time is with four people, at two minutes and forty-eight seconds.” Yang records her time after every attempt, and she hopes to be able to complete that puzzle in under thirty seconds by the end of this year. 

No matter their approach to solving the puzzles, students enjoy the time they spend and the conversations they have while working with one another. Del Rosario explains, “There’s something about having your mind actively working on the puzzle … your sentences don’t come out properly. It’s really funny to hear people try and explain themselves after they say something wrong or that’s a little off.” 

The puzzles in the library have created a unique space on campus for students to relax and talk with friends while making something creative and having fun. Those that stop by the puzzles encourage other students to try it too. As Yang and Del Rosario put it: “Come join us. Join the dark side.”

Categories: Features

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