My Top Six Favorite Places in the Graham

Ashlie J. '24

My Top Six Favorite Places in the Graham

view of entrance to a large new building, student exiting


Ashlie J. '24 shares her favorite places in the newest building on campus, the Graham Athletics & Wellness Center. 






The Kenneth M. Caldwell OPC '89 Basketball Court 

Girls basketball player shoots ball between two opponents

The Kenneth M. Caldwell OPC '89 Basketball Court is my favorite part of the new Graham Athletic & Wellness Center. Basketball is my main sport, both at and outside of school. This court is so impressive. I have never played in an environment as nice as this! The space allows us to play the sport we love while we work on strengthening our skillset. In this new building, there are actually two sides to the basketball court with a bridge separating the two main courts for games. These two courts are designed to facilitate the way that official games are played. The bleachers are located parallel to the courts, where the entire PC community and supporters from the larger community can watch our JV and Varsity basketball teams play. Another aspect that I enjoy about the basketball courts is the dedicated space for watching game film. This allows us to come together as a team to prepare for our competitors, analyze footage, and visually draw out our plays so that our team is ready for the next game. Lastly, I love the surround-sound music system. This is one of my favorite parts of the space because it keeps us motivated while practicing and warming up before big games!

H-P-R Stillwagon Rock Wall

In my opinion, the H-P-R Stillwagon Rock Wall is one of the most exciting features in the Graham Athletic & Wellness Center. The climbing wall is incredible and one-of-a-kind! I have enjoyed the many times that I have been in this space.

students and teachers on belay on an indoor rock wall

Rock climbing is now a club for both Middle and Upper School. We have faculty members and students who are certified to be in this space, teach climbing techniques and assist with climbing. The rock wall is also used frequently for classes. Students in PE classes rotate through a variety of activities, and climbing is one of the many options. I always enjoy my time during each visit! I can remember my first time in this space with my basketball team. We participated in team bonding as a part of our practice for the day. We had the opportunity to rock climb, belay one another, become familiar with different rock climbing techniques, learn how to use the equipment, and cheer each other on! This was a fun experience for my team and me, which definitely helped us with our chemistry on and off the court!

Juice Bar and Lounge

The Juice Bar and Lounge is one of the most popular spots in the Graham Athletic & Wellness Center. The Juice Bar opened up recently and sells healthy snacks and smoothies during and after school for students, faculty, and staff to enjoy.

You will always see a bunch of students gathered in this area, maybe drinking a smoothie a snack, doing their homework, or just socializing. The Lounge next to the Juice Bar is a popular space where students  like to relax and hang out before or after classes, during free blocks and before practice. Personally, I use this space to chat with my friends before and after my practices and lifts. You can also find me in this space working on my homework throughout the day. My favorite snack and drink at the juice bar is the chocolate-covered blueberries and Slim Jims; another popular drink here is the strawberry banana smoothies! 

Blaine A. Steinberg OPC '11 Center

The Blaine Center is a perfect place to build your strength, conditioning, and bond with your teammates. This space is dedicated to an alum named Blaine Steinberg and reminds us of all the bright energy and spirit that she brought to the Penn Charter community during her time with us. This facility has two floors. The upstairs is called the “Cardio Floor,” which is used just as much as the downstairs during lifts and activities. This center is also used for different PE classes, during “open gym” time, or by students who have a free block and want to get an extra workout in during the school day. All sports teams have designated lifts on the bottom level with our wonderful and experienced trainers, John Estok and Mallory Benard, who help us get

physically and mentally stronger. Coaches Mallory and Estok have workouts prepared and designed for our specific sports. They constantly push us to excel and get stronger. As we participate in lift, we keep track of our reps, weight, and progress on our Team Builder accounts on the iPads located on each rack. This Center is where I spend a lot of time during the school year! I have used this facility during all three seasons of sports: tennis, basketball, and during spring off-season lift. Even if you do not participate during a season of sports, Upper School students are allowed to be a part of a group called “off-season lift.” Personally, I do off-season lifts during the spring season and have seen so much personal improvement. Although lifting during my sports seasons is helpful, off-season lift is where I have seen the majority of my progress. Since I get to lift more often, I have been able to push myself to use higher weights and experiment with a variety of workouts. This space is my happy place to improve, work hard, and “be better than yesterday!”

Shipon Family Athletic Training Room

The Shipon Family Athletic Training Room is one of the coolest parts of this new building! If you are injured or just need some support before a practice or game, we have some of the best, advanced equipment in a school setting!

The training room is a space where you can find plenty of students hanging out before or after practices (not because they are hurt), but because they want to keep their bodies healthy and up to speed.We have so many tools in this room to help students stay active and ready for games! Our wonderful trainers Jess Rawlings and Jeremy Eith are great at what they do. They evaluate students’ needs when they are hurt, and give them specific exercises to help their bodies heal and recover, or refer them out to a doctor. This space also has hydrotherapy and cryotherapy tubs for all students to use under supervision to keep their bodies regulated and avoid injury. In addition, there is a Physician's Room in this space, where a doctor comes in often to evaluate athletes who may have more serious injuries. This is definitely a place where I spent a lot of time talking with my friends, the trainers, and eating up all the good crushed ice from the machine!

Lyons Multipurpose Room & Classroom

Although the Graham Athletic & Wellness Center seems like it is just an athletic building, it’s not! This building has classrooms in addition to all the outstanding workout/sports/wellness facilities. The classrooms are used for a variety of activities and events, such as Health and Physical Education classes, advisories, electives, yoga, team-building, PC social events, and much more! I have spent a lot of time in this room, especially for team bonding exercises throughout my basketball season. A tradition we have on the basketball team is that each player has to create a vlog of their day for the rest of the team to watch. Every week, two or three players on the team were then selected to share a glimpse of their day! I loved watching the funny vlogs that we each created as it definitely allowed us to become much closer and share many laughs with each other! I love that throughout the year, this space incorporates a little bit of everything: athletics, academics, and wellness! 

  • Graham Athletics & Wellness Center
  • Space
  • Student Life

More Stories