A snow day at the end of May. On May 29, seniors pull into the senior lot especially early: before 7 o’clock, according to Mr. Bledsoe, a science teacher. With a track record of coming late to class, this seems unusual for seniors; however, they’re there to make sure their plan runs smoothly.
A few minutes later, underclassmen begin arriving to school. The trees in the front of the school are littered with toilet paper, giving the appearance of hanging icicles and snow-covered trees. Immediately you can hear music blasting through the foyer doors. A parade of nervous students are trudging through the single open doorway. Suddenly, shredded paper is dumped and water is sprayed, hitting students on all four sides. The metal concert-gates herd all students in a straight line, and there is only one way out: to go through. Once you make it through the packed foyer, you are overwhelmed by a rainbow ball-pit of balloons on the first staircase landing.
The Senior Prank is a long-standing tradition at AHS, where graduating seniors spring a prank on their last official day of classes. These pranks are usually quite monumental and mainly take place in the foyer of the school. Although the senior prank may seem like a “fun way for seniors to say goodbye to their school,” noted Ms. Robb, a social studies teacher, there are also some drawbacks to this year’s prank in particular.
Teachers as a whole are split on this issue. Some did not see the harm in the prank while others did not see the value. Mr. Keene, an English teacher, said, “I don’t think that the senior pranks have any redeeming qualities. I don’t think that they are necessary for the seniors to somehow tell us they are better than other classes or do things that assert their dominance on the school. We already give them a week of special events to make them feel special.”
Mr. Bledsoe, a science teacher, was one of the faithful supporters of this year’s prank. He said, “I went back to look because there was excitement. I said, ‘Well, shoot, I have to hold the door for everybody.’ I held the door for most folks and directed them in through that door. And if they wanted to go through the other door, I would say, ‘Oh no, you got to go through this door and experience it.’”
One of the biggest controversies regarding this year’s prank was the cleanup involved. The confetti would stay in students’ hair and backpacks, so when they sat down in class and walked through the hallways, confetti would fall off and litter the entire school.
Robb does not have a problem with senior pranks in general, but does think this year’s prank was “rude, inconsiderate and disrespectful…. A prank doesn’t have to be disruptive, it doesn’t have to create more work for our already overworked custodians. A prank can be funny without being demeaning.”
Bledsoe’s support of the prank does not end with the party aspect of the prank. He said, “It was fun…. I love the jubilation they were showing towards everybody.” In regards to the cleanup of this year’s prank, he said, “They had to do a lot of cleanup. They got it to, from what I could tell, about 90 percent, which is fine. Considering the enormity of the task, for them to get 90 percent of it up is fine. I didn’t see anything destroyed, which is huge. It was just some clutter and mess.”
Keene disagreed and said, “I don’t know that we need to encourage any kind of behavior that almost always ends up trashing the school.”
Some teachers have more extreme opinions than others. Keene thinks that “we should just eliminate the prank. I don’t see the benefit of it. It doesn’t seem to be a rite of passage the way that a graduation or something could be. Especially given the disruption to other students and the cleanliness of the school, I think we should do away with them.”
In regards to future pranks, Robb said, “It would be great if in the future seniors came up with witty, creative, and fun pranks that give everyone a laugh without disrupting things for the rest of the school.”
By Alexandra Scott