The Room Where It Happens

Image of room 326 provided by Milo Pesca ‘25 

Nothing is worse than walking into room 326 on the first day of freshman year. 

It’s terrible. Squeezed between the Multipurpose Room and the dance studio, it feels like a prison cell. The squeezing on both sides of the table, the unclosable blinds, and having to turn your head to view the board provide a terrible first impression of Grace! 

Yet, after advisory, I ventured towards 221, Ms. Cortes’ Spanish room. Everyone could see the board and each other, which led to the class being productive. People say it’s a teacher, a class dynamic, or your enjoyment of the subject that makes or breaks a class — but perhaps we’re overthinking it, and the real qualifier is simply how nice the room is.

What makes a room suitable? I asked Grace students to comment on what makes a space productive. Do students like desks, tables, natural light, or heat? Based on their responses, I tried to find the best room.

Temperature stood out as a big criterion. Savvy K. ‘24 said: “Rooms without AC suck! 221 and 222 [the Spanish rooms] have no fans, no windows, and too much heat! I hate the heat. There’s no temperature control.” 

Heat is not the only problem. Olivia C. ‘27 said that people tend to have more favorable opinions of cold rooms rather than hot ones. In a survey of eight freshmen, seven preferred colder rooms, while one preferred warmer rooms. The temperature control issue made Daria Melnyk’s room, 311, less than popular.

Comfort was another important factor, and the library area and Mr. Klebnikov’s room, 219, greatly benefited from their inviting furniture. 

Greg M. ‘25 said he liked the Writing Center because “it’s comfortable, cold, and by the library.” 

Mr. Klebnikov’s famous swivel chairs added to the room being ranked one of the most popular. Sadly, this room is going away next year to make room for a science office and new classrooms! Luckily, the table and chairs should remain when Mr. Klebnikov relocates upstairs. 

Tables, windows, and chairs induced more disagreement than any other category. Some students liked Mr. Klebnikov’s room because of its long table, which appeared to provide students with more space. 

Image of room 219 provided by Milo Pesca ‘25 

For example, Ms.Tashman’s room, 227, has the size to allow rearranging the chairs in any formation, as Mr. Reilly does in Journalism. Mr. James said his favorite room is “227, the geometry room, because it’s spacious, group work is easy, lots of whiteboards, the decor is amazing, windows, good intersection with Tashman advisory, right off the staircase!” 

Matthew T. ‘25 agreed as well. The large space, the ability to move chairs into any pattern you want, and the Cooper Square view make this room a top contender for Grace’s favorite room.

Image of room 227 provided by Milo Pesca ‘25 

Perhaps the most divisive room was 326, the one I personally hated. Seniors seemed to love the room because of its location near the Senior Commons and College Office. Seniors Jessica C-H., Caroline G., and Sade N. said the room near the college office is their favorite because it can be set up as a long table in the seminar style. 

However, during Mr. Zaretsky’s Digital Tools and Citizenship class, the sophomores all agreed that the room was one of the worst. Mr. Zaretsky was surprised, saying “THIS is one of the most popular rooms?” 

The fourth floor was another controversial location. While some students hated the long walk-up, others enjoyed rooms on the fourth floor for various reasons. Ms. Grafton’s room, 410, tended to be the most hated room in the school. 

Izzy A. ‘27 said, “Ms. Grafton’s room sucks because there’s no space, and I don’t wanna walk there after lunch.” 

Others agreed with this assessment, like Annabel S. ‘25, who said, “Ms. Grafton’s room [410] is the worst room in the whole school. They fit too many people. Pinned up against the wall and you have to scoot. It’s the worst. One long table sucks.” 

Jonathan T. ‘25 liked the weight room, and Walker F. ‘24 liked the golf simulator. However, these do not really count as classrooms. 

In the end, one room stood out above the rest: Mr. Root’s 314. Why? Windows, plants, and a homey feel. Windows tended to be a big factor. Jonathan said, “I like colder rooms with more windows. Mr. Root’s is good. All the plants and photos are in the room. I like it when you can see the advisory photo.” 

The praise for the homey feel of Mr. Root’s room was matched by other students, like Joaquin A. ‘25, who likes it “when rooms have decorations.” It gives the room a personalized feel that is distinct. It’s in the middle of the junior commons and not a far walk from the senior ones. When you’re in Mr. Root’s room, you know it’s his room. And yes, there are flaws — like how it is sometimes hard to find a seat in a large class — but its pros outweigh its cons.

So there you have it: survey says the best room in the school is Mr. Root’s room, and the school needs to fix its temperature control system. It’s those factors in your mind that you don’t give more than a second’s thought to in the moment — when combined with all the other factors — that will culminate in you forming subconscious opinions without even knowing it. 

Only one or two people of the 25+ surveyed didn’t have an opinion on their favorite rooms. Everyone’s taste is different; people value certain criteria over others. The room I hated was popular, and the room I loved was unpopular. That’s how circumstantial it all is. There is a case to be made that all the criteria I mentioned are a load of junk, and the real factors of what makes a good room are the people inside it.
Milo Pesca ‘25, the author, is a staff writer for the Grace Gazette.