Walter Johnson Puzzle Tournament


Senior Jessica Lee sets up the tables prior to the first ever WJ Puzzle Tournament. The tournament was held on December 15. Picture courtesy of Jessica Lee.

Ashwin Kammula, Staff Writer

For the past three years, the Walter Johnson Puzzle Club has been meeting weekly during lunch. This fun club was started by senior Jessica Lee during her freshman year as a means of relieving stress during the busy schedule of a high schooler. This club has students put together puzzles while enjoying the company of their friends.

This year, Lee took Puzzle Club to a new level by holding the first ever Walter Johnson Puzzle Tournament. The tournament was held on December 18 at 6:15 p.m. in the Student Commons.

Lee organized this competition to fulfill the requirement for her APEX Senior Project.

“My APEX project is about collaboration between people. I’ve always wanted to do a puzzle tournament ever since I founded Puzzle Club freshman year. I thought now would be the perfect opportunity so that I could also observe how the groups interacted,” Lee said.

In order to enter the competition, people formed teams of four or five. Each team was given an hour and 40 minutes to complete the same 300 piece puzzle. While this was meant to be a friendly competition, the teams still showed a competitive spirit.

“People got pretty intense with their puzzle and there was a lot of screaming and laughing,” Lee said.

The winning team was a group of four seniors: Emery Grahill-Bland, Tali Kirshenboim, Sophia Scobell and Josie Laing.

“Our strategy was to uncover all the pieces first and sort them, and then we sort of assigned an area to each person. But mostly, we just tried to help each other out without getting in each other’s way,” Grahill-Bland said.

Many participants noted that this tournament was a very fun and interesting team experience.

“I think the competition was definitely a success. I didn’t publicize it too much and I still got around 25 people to participate. People actually have already been asking me to hold another one,” Lee said.

“The Puzzle Tournament was really really great and made my day. I’d love to do it again. We, the Puzzle Club officers, including [Lee], were talking about making more competitions because it turned out so well!” Grahill-Bland said.

The first WJ Puzzle Tournament was a huge success and there’s lots of anticipation for the next one. Until then, the Puzzle Club meets every Friday in room G21.