Puzzle Club encourages students to think outside the box


Abby Stockmal

Puzzle Club, a relatively new club started by Michael Hu, junior, encourages students to think creatively while letting off some steam solving puzzles. Here, a student is being taught how to solve cipher puzzles at Puzzle Club’s carnival on Wednesday, March 21.

As the end of the year approaches, students’ stress levels often increase as they are bombarded with midterms and the demands of studying for AP tests. As a result, students often seek out beneficial and relaxing ways to cope with the stress. One club has been particularly popular this year with students when it comes to finding a creative outlet for them to unwind.

Puzzle Club, new in October of last year, is a weekly club where students attempt to solve all types of puzzles, riddles, logic problems, and brain teasers.

“Our mission is to inspire students to think in flexible new ways, and we do it in a fun, engaging, and welcoming environment for everyone,” said Michael Hu, junior and student leader of Puzzle Club.

One of the most recent activities that Puzzle Club has put on was a puzzle carnival, which was its first ever fundraiser. The carnival took place on Wednesday, March 22 from 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. in the cafeteria.

Members of Puzzle Club led the carnival by setting up booths with different puzzle activities for students to engage in, including Rubik’s cubes, ciphers, ken kens, mastermind, and logic puzzles.

The event had good student turnout, with approximately 20-30 students arriving within the first half hour of the carnival. Students who attended had to pay a fee to get tickets, which they turned in at each booth to solve the puzzle. However, the price of the tickets was relatively cheap, and the profit went to funding future puzzle club events.

Abby Stockmal
Junior Bill Harlow solves puzzles at one of the student booths at the puzzle carnival with Ryan Park, junior puzzle club member.

Specifically, the club is seeking funding to put on another escape room for students and staff, similar to the escape room that they organized for teachers earlier this year in November.

Despite the club’s young age, it has already organized various events similar to the escape room and carnival, and it has also attracted numerous members. Other than the escape room and the carnival, members have organized an all school Puzzle Week, which included various activities such as a scavenger hunt and a bingo game.

All of these previous activities have also been popular with non-members at school. The majority of the student and faculty participated in the bingo game and puzzle week, since activities were integrated into the student body’s daily routines.

If anything, it was difficult to not participate in the club’s festivities as bingo numbers were announced at the beginning of almost every period. Also for Puzzle Week, the club partnered with Student Council and advertised the Mr. Hinsdale event.  Winners received highly sought after spirit-wear prizes, such as RDN jerseys.

“A lot of students seemed to really enjoy Puzzle Week and found it to be a lot of fun because the activities were fun and lighthearted,” said Mr. Vonnahme, Puzzle Club sponsor. “The activities during Puzzle Week prompted a rewarding way of thinking and seemed to create a positive energy in the school.”

Since the club’s attendance relies so much on student enjoyment and interest in the types of activities, Puzzle Club is mainly led by students, with faculty sponsor and Math Department Chair, Mr. Vonnahme. Students are responsible for not only attending meetings but also planning school events and bringing in their own puzzles and riddles to the meetings to discuss and solve with fellow members.

Although the activities and puzzles that Puzzle Club solves are challenging, the engaging and enthusiastic community of the club is one of the main reasons that students keep returning to meetings.

“I really like to do puzzles, and so I decided to check the club out,” said Jason Fiu, sophomore. “The types of puzzles we bring to the meetings are hard, but the atmosphere and students that go make it really fun and entertaining.”

If you’re interested in becoming a member, Puzzle Club meets every Friday from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in room 213.