5. senior prank.
Back in the day, the Senior Pranks were said to be legendary. The last time that a Senior Prank happened was in the late 1970’s. It was my dad’s class.
When I ask him about his Senior Prank, he tells me it was “just chaos”.
Back in those days, the school administration embraced the pranks. So much so that they would actually hand students the keys to the school to facilitate the upcoming prank.
I’ve heard the story of dad’s Senior Prank for years, but it doesn’t make it any less unbelievable. And he doesn’t laugh any less each time he tells it.
Things started out as innocent and good natured, but at some point took a wild turn and the entire night turned into “complete madness”. Someone showed up with 100 live mice. Another pulled up to the school in a VW Bug and instructed the rest of the group to remove the doors to the building. Once the doors were removed, the boy was able to drive the VW Bug into North Hall and park it in the middle of the hallway. Then the group proceeded to fill the ENTIRE hallway with crumbled up newspaper stacked around 4 or 5 feet high in an effort to conceal the illegally parked car.
While this was happening, another student went from classroom to classroom physically ripping the mounted telephones from the wall. One student wrote on the blackboard of one of the teachers, a former priest, “kill priests”, something my dad found to be excessive.
What did you do with the mice? I ask.
“We gave them their freedom.”
The next day was Senior Cut Day. Obviously this was before cell phones, but the Headmaster’s Secretary called every single student’s parents. Each parent was told that if their child didn’t arrive on campus within an hour, they would not graduate. Every student somehow made it to school. They were told to wait in the gymnasium for an Assembly with the Headmaster. On the opposite side of the gym floor, the Headmaster stood at a podium staring ahead at the crowd of Seniors seated in the bleachers.
Right on cue, as if it were a scene from a movie, a group of mice ran across the floor, right behind the Headmaster.
Every senior was required to help in cleaning up the mess they created. Sometime during clean up, someone determined that the VW Bug was stolen. The Police arrived, but every student kept quiet about who brought the car there, each agreeing they hadn’t seen the driver.
On that fateful day, the Headmaster made the decision to ban Senior Prank for eternity.
28 years later, my senior class decided to attempt the unthinkable- our very own Senior Prank. The unanimous thinking was that if it was a harmless, good natured joke, the administration would find it funny and Senior Prank would be allowed again. We would throw our hands up in unison and scream “we did it!” just like in the movies. We would be heroes!
For our prank, we decided to remove every single chair from the school and put them on the Lower Soccer Field. Our school consisted of three separate building units, so this task would be tedious. Most of my classmates were desperate to go out with a bang, I was just eager to do something that made me feel connected.
So that night, we met up at one of our classmates house and conjured up our plan. Someone knew the schedule of rehearsals for the school play or something, so we decided it would be an easy opportunity to slip in the back door and prop it open with a chair, allowing for us to enter the building once the Theater Teacher locked up and left for the evening.
And that’s what we did.
We parked our cars several streets away and collectively jogged to the school, diving behind trees, ducking behind large bushes, trying to hide underneath black clothing. We must have looked like the co ed teenage version of the team of thieves from Oceans 11.
We snuck along the perimeter of the building, staying away from the lit paths and the shine of the Streetlamps. In the rear of the building, we waited in the grass. One kid snuck around and propped the door open, running back to alert us. We all waited quietly for the Theater Teacher to leave.
It had to be at least an hour that we ended up waiting, taking turns to joke about what was taking so long. A secret affair? Stealing other teacher’s supplies? Avoiding going home to responsibility?
I stuck close to Jen, a habit I developed early into 9th grade. Her and Ash* were my Safe Haven, so I tended to hover. She giggled when it was suggested that we put chairs on the Roof of the building so that we could sit in them as the students rolled in the next morning.
I watched the boys Mark*, Josh*, Billy*, and JJ* climb the side of the building to the roof. They needed one more person up there. Greg*, the tallest guy in our class, didn’t want to risk being caught. He was a good kid who had a basketball scholarship waiting for him.
I ran over and climbed up, channeling the same energy I harnessed during the Presidential Fitness Test a few months earlier. I followed Mark’s lead as he bent down to grab chairs from the people below, then twisted his body to the right to pass it to Billy who was behind him. Billy would then find a spot on the Roof for the chair. I grabbed chairs one by one from the people below. When we were done, we each jumped back down and the group took off running.
While we were spreading the chairs across the Roof, the rest of our classmates were on the Lower Field. In a perfectly running Assembly Line, they were lined up passing chairs back to four different people who were working to spell out “2006”, our Graduation Year. The way we worked together was like a well oiled machine, something I desperately wish spanned throughout my five years at this school.