The APUSH Triple

A satirical look at our experience being locked in.

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Photo by Catherine Kvam

The students of Mr. Dozois' APUSH class wait for freedom.

By Tori Koontz

Most Mondays end just as uneventfully as they begin, but this week was a bit different for our AP United States History class 7th and 8th period double.

At first, nothing spectacular seemed to happen. Just another average history class with average snacks, spent reviewing for the upcoming AP exam. It was a double period, so the day was long already. There’s nothing else students want to do than leave after a double at the end of the day, but unfortunately this was not possible for us.

About half way through the last period, the power went out, affecting the lights, projector, and most concerning, the door (which we were unaware of at first). The shortage had little impact on the rest of our class time, and we were able to finish reviewing with no difficulties. The real problem, however, arose as we attempted to leave class and start our afternoon activities.

The new-age doors on the LFA classrooms are electronically activated by teachers’ keycards, and lock automatically when closed. This prevents people from coming in, but those wishing to exit can do so with no problem. It never occurred to us that the power outage would affect the doors’ locking capability in a different way.

The initial shock of trying to turn the door’s handle and discovering it was locked was soothed by Mr. Dozois’ reassurance that this was, in fact, a fixable problem. The doors come equipped with a safety feature, in case an accidental locking-in were to occur. This big red button marked “emergency exit”, which held so much potential for us, destroyed our hopes as quickly as it had raised them. This so called “emergency exit” button did not work for our emergency exit.
Although this unfortunate event shook us, we were not overly concerned. A few minutes and perhaps a phone call was thought to solve the problem. This was not the case. At all.

A “few minutes” turned into almost an hour, and the one phone call turned into about five. This APUSH double turned into an APUSH triple. Our hopes of leaving school stress and starting our afternoons had vanished, and we were beginning to think that escape would be nothing more than a distant (and quickly fading) hope
By the end of the 45 long minutes, there were at least four members of the facilities crew, trying desperately to free us. Although their efforts were valiant, no results were yielded, despite the use of several keys and tools.

In the end, it was the power that saved us. Just as it had once abandoned us, it returned to us in our time of need to offer salvation. The door unlocked, as did our freedom.
Although we were eventually saved, we were indeed traumatized by this unexpected trial of patience, perseverance, and survival. We lived through being trapped in a glass room where freedom seemed so close, being abandoned and left behind in an empty school, and feeling like a caged animal as members of the community came to laugh at our suffering.

This double period-turned-triple period was one experience at LFA neither of us ever hopes to repeat. Despite our trauma, we emerged changed people. Nothing will ever be the same. However, some good did come of it. Our small class of six has never been closer. Nothing ties people together quite like a near-death experience (that probably wasn’t as severe as we made it out to be, in retrospect).