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Climbing to the Top

By Phoebe Bonin (Reporter '26)

There is one question that has torn apart the FCS community for centuries, a question that has caused controversy, drama, schisms, and pure chaos. What is the best staircase on campus? I am here to answer this crucial question. To begin, any staircases in the Middle School, the CID, Shimada, or Linton will be excluded due to not being used daily by the majority of the high school. I have done my best to include all the staircases on campus, but I cannot guarantee I have included every step and stair. What constitutes a step, and when do steps become stairs? The questions are never-ending, so I believe the best definition is at least two consecutive steps leading to somewhere that would be unreachable by walking safely without said steps. With all that out of the way, I am Phoebe Bonin, and this is Climbing to the Top.

10. The entrance to Shallcross from the Oval.

This might come as a surprise, but once you consider it, this truly is the most abysmal set of stairs on campus. Not only is it crowded, but it is extremely easy to get caught holding the door for minutes. Not to mention the difficulty of opening both doors at once, but the funnel shape forces students to get closer to each other to get inside. There will most certainly be traffic from when early lunch starts to when late lunch ends. The traffic gets so bad that students will often exit another way just to avoid it, going out of their way to escape the chaos that is those couple stairs between Shallcross and freedom.

9. The back staircase of the Main building

In one word, this staircase is damp. Although the previously mentioned staircase was said to be emotionally stressful, this staircase will throw you into all five stages of grief with a brief climb to the third floor. It could have rained a week ago, but it will still be slippery. The absurd thinness of the stairs ensures that you will run into someone. The doors into the building open outwards, ensuring that you will get slammed with a door while climbing to your destination. This staircase has caused trauma for my fallen friends, and by that I mean multiple friends of mine have fallen down (or up) these stairs. I will say the chamber these stairs reside in have excellent acoustics, not to mention the opportunity of socializing due to the popularity of this location.

8. The staircase going to the third floor of the FCC

What is more humiliating than getting out of breath from a single flight of stairs up to a math or science course? The answer is nothing. There is some secret to how this staircase was engineered: this staircase is agonizing to climb no matter what velocity you are walking, what your acceleration is, no matter what. This is the one staircase on campus where people will walk on the left and right sides, going both up and down, completely uncaring of their peers. On the upside (technically downside), going down these stairs is a dream. You can easily scamper down without difficulty, not to mention the miniature lounge residing underneath the staircase (Harry Potter style). This staircase is a hit or miss, and although it can be mayhem, you cannot deny the fun of half-walking-half-falling down the stairs.

7. The back staircase of Shallcross

Do people use this staircase? This staircase is simply there. I have never heard anyone having a bad experience with these stairs. This staircase is the perfect example of mediocrity. It takes you from floor to floor. Congratulations.

6. The two stairs entering the miniature lounge area in front of the Library

These stairs are tragically overlooked. I mean this in two ways. People often don’t appreciate those stairs, and people often don’t recognize their existence until they fall down said stairs (like I did on December ninth, 2022).. These stairs are perfect for sitting and leaving backpacks. Unfortunately, they aren’t steep enough to be noticed all the time, thus causing their (and our) downfall. These stairs are always a pleasure to go up and down on, and the geometrical balance of the two sets of two is a satisfying balance. These stairs are good. Underappreciated, but good.

5. Shallcross’ main staircase

This staircase is the classic. Perfectly placed within the building, an ideal width and steepness, this is a solid staircase. The windows give a vast view of the parking lot, and there is unlimited enjoyment in receiving a wave from a friend behind those windows. These stairs have one issue with the double doors leading to the second floor, oft difficult to open while carrying food or school supplies. I very much enjoy these stairs.

4. The Library staircase

This is a fun one. The area in which the staircase resides is perpetually comfy. The staircase winds through two corners up to the second floor, narrow, but never crowded. The reason this is so high on the list is the ambiance of the surrounding area. The room the staircase is in is aromatic (a scent of cloves I think), the lighting is ideal, dim and warm without it impeding vision, and although echoey, there is rarely sound to be echoed. Not even mentioning the cushioned bench below it (which I might add is the only cushioned bench on the academic campus), this staircase is full of comfort and tranquility.

3. The staircase going down in the FCC Who would have thought that this staircase made it so high while its counterpart got #8? This staircase is joyous. It is the perfect width for three parties to walk their separate ways, and even better with friends! Nothing is more fun than scrambling to the lecture hall using this trusty flight of stairs, making the sharp corner before descending to the bottom floor. This staircase is also one of the best constructed in regard to placement. This staircase is where you need it to be.

2. The Meeting Room staircase

I wasn’t sure whether or not to count this one, but after consulting with the official judges of staircase perfection (I asked my friends if they like this staircase), I thought it was significant enough to conclude. Being the only carpeted staircase on campus, it holds a special place in my heart. This staircase will make you feel like a celebrity. For whatever reason, you may be climbing or descending the stairs, something about its location invites a playful sense of fame. If for some reason you need to use this staircase during assembly or MFW, you gain the perspective of seeing the rest of the school, and you get to be the one standing. This is a contextual vote, but even without the context, the carpet will take it far within the ranks.

1. The Main Building staircase

This is a surprise to no one. This staircase is simply majestic. From the wood-carved details, the stained glass, the width, and the railings. This is the perfect staircase. It is impossible to have a bad experience when walking on this staircase. We all take this staircase for granted, but we must appreciate it. Next time you walk on this staircase, say thank you for all its years of hard work.

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