Seven classes a day, for five days a week, students are confined to the same classrooms. By extension, students also use the same hallways for all 38 weeks during the academic school year. We walk these hallways on the daily, and they are all very much the same:  goldenrod yellow with randomly-placed posters, interrupted by familiar classroom doors with rectangular windows. Cream colored floors form a continuous diamond pattern and the uniformity of the white ceiling tiles occasionally broken by sprinklers, speakers and security cameras.

These characteristics are evident in every hallway in the school, except for one: The Awkward Hallway.  Located in the Upper School wing, it connects the Freshman and Sophomore hallways. Perhaps to visitors to our school, it only stands apart because has no windows, no classrooms and is decorated on one side by the painted stone arches. However, the major difference looms: it is significantly longer than any other hallway.

The bridge made by Mr. Santer that the seniors decorate is displayed on one side of this Awkward Hallway.

Consequently, this hallway has a reputation  in the Upper School as being very awkward and uncomfortable to walk through. Christina Albee ‘20, explains that what  makes it so awkward is “seeing someone at the other end and waving to them too early so that when I end up passing them there is an awkward silence because it would be weird to wave again”.

These unsettling walks are experienced by  all PA students. Another factor that makes this hallway so unique is the display of an arched bridge along one wall. Studio Art teacher Mr. Santer’s creation gives students a slight reprieve from the windowless walk.  Every year, the seniors in his art class get to decorate their own square on this bridge with their initials and graduating year. Finding signatures left by the tradition provides a welcome distraction from potential eye contact.

This infamous hallway is very well known to all of PA upper school students. Its adds an interesting element of awkward social encounters to everyone’s school day. The distance makes greetings and long-subsequent passing almost worth taking the long way around, given that you can walk quickly enough to avoid a tardy.  

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