By: Ryan Lobert
People usually don’t know their teachers as well as they should. They typically don’t want to get into the personal affairs of their teachers- considered usually a strictly professional and almost business like relationship, or don’t know where to start and frankly may not care. To see into the often private life of administrators, you need to look deeper, find stories lost to kids, but are so fondly remembered by the teachers who built them. Planning Room 26, often abbreviated to just P26, is only the start of seeing all of these rich memories.
What originally catches your eye when walking past the seemingly normal planning room is a small sign hung above the door, reading, “Da Deer Kamp.” When asked about the sign and what it means to the members of the planning room, Mr. Aaron Grifhorst, an economics and social studies teacher here at Grandville High School, answered, “Well, we are the only all male planning room in the building. Not all of us are hunters, but there are a few that do enjoy hunting.” He talked about how this isn’t really the main reason for the sign, that the real reason why the room is nicknamed such a thing is the brotherhood of the men who occupy the room. “From my stance, the name comes from the behaviors, conversations, and food that are enjoyed by the members of P26.” What really means the most to the members is the togetherness, the stories they tell together, and really just the feeling of just a bunch of friends around a campfire, far disconnected from a workplace they just so happen to share.
Different teachers have said that the room’s members have made a lifetime of memories and friendships inside of P26, and that may leave you curious about what exactly goes on inside of the walls of the planning room, beyond what you can see from the glass of the door. Mr. Grifhorst said that there was way too much to mention, but went through his best memories briefly. “Mr. Dolloff, Mr. Dix, Mr. Dudka, myself and a few others have superhero characters created of us, We had a hotdog eating contest where I am happy to say I tied with Mr. Randall as we both agreed that if we ate another, we would surely not be able to hold it down,” he said in regards to himself, but he also called out a few fellow teachers. Mr. Ungrey’s nicknames and his affinity for Armadillo meat came up, Mr. Tower’s ability to be a so-called walking encyclopedia of facts and figures was also mentioned, as well as former teacher and P26 founder Mr. Cashen’s impressions of odd substitute teachers who would wander into the room occasionally.
Now, no good story is without its fair share of rumors. In circles, you hear rumors that teachers have done everything from group purchasing Lazy Boy’s to replace the room’s chairs, starting a stock trading club together out of P26, and even that a few of the room’s members made enough money from that venture to buy Teslas. “First of all, rumors are just that, they are rumors. I wouldn’t believe anything that you hear about the activities in P26,” Grifhorst said, “Are there lazy-boy chairs? Absolutely! Do we talk stocks and share personal stories? Absolutely! Can I confirm or deny anything that is said in P26? Absolutely Not! I would like to remain a member of P26 and you know the old phrase, “what happens in P26 stays in P26″”. What happens in Planning room 26 borders on mysterious, and an often overlooked question of what do teachers do when they aren’t teaching us lies at the forefront of it all. And that all brings up a good question, do we not truly care enough about what goes on in the private life of our teachers? Do we really know the people who bestow upon us the wisdom we often take for granted? Everyday, we learn more and more about what they do for fun, what they are like outside of the classroom, and who they are as people. The gap between students and teachers continues to fill more and more. P26, the stories told in its walls, and the people who made what it is, are just the start of that knowledge, and while some teachers want to keep to themselves, P26 is a place where, as Mr. Grifhorst put it, “ we are able to have a great time with the guys and let go of a little stress through laughter.”