Seniors anticipate prank, share reactions to rules

The senior prank. No one knows what it is before hand, but everyone has an opinion about it. That includes our current seniors. Sometimes, though, it can create such a divide that no one knows what’s going on. Zach Weiner ‘23 stated, “what senior prank?”

Declan O’Connell ‘23 mentioned, “no one in our grade knows what we’re doing yet…half our grade wants to trash the school and the other half want to follow the guidelines.” 

William Anderson argues, “I think Dr. Canfield made some reasonable requests, but for some seniors part of the senior prank is being unreasonable. So, we’ll see what happens.” He furthers that “I would hope that as a grade, we can stay responsible but still have fun.”

Some seniors were more animated in their opinions. Ryoya Yamada ‘23 shared, “I have no ******* idea [what we’re doing]. It’s all over the place. There’s like 10 ideas we’re probably never gonna do. There’s not really much to do because of the administration. They’ve given us strict guidelines of what we can and cannot do. They’re strict guidelines, but they’re very vague. It’s definitely more of an opinion guideline on if Dr. Canfield likes it or not. It’s unfortunate that they had to do this for our graduation. It is a little sad, but we’ll manage.”Emma Hausman ‘23 agrees the rules are vague, claiming, “I don’t even know what rules there are, I don’t know if anyone knows what the rules are…all I know is Blake doesn’t want a repeat of previous years but I don’t know what those guidelines are. Rules being don’t severely damage the school and don’t bring in live animals, I hope that people have that capability. I think that the lack of unification of the senior prank means that the likelihood that nothing will happen is likelier than anything bad happening.”

What defines a prank?

What is a prank? Oxford languages dictionary defines prank as “a practical joke or mischievous act.” Unfortunately, this definition provides little help, humor is relative, and the administration did not share the same sense of humor as the class of ‘22. Because of this disconnect last year, the administration has decided to regulate this year’s prank. But is it really a prank then? Each year the senior prank exists in one form or another, some years are considered better than others, but it all depends on who you ask. 

Last year there was not just one act that made up the controversial senior prank, but a mismatched series of inconveniences, and incidents of destruction spread around the school. Students were greeted in the morning with a harmless parking lot full of cars parked horizontally or diagonally across two to three parking spaces, leaving little room for non seniors to park. However, upon entering the building, there was more done to the inside of the school. Railings were covered in a lubricating material, silly string sprayed everywhere, glitter dumped in rooms and other messy “jokes” literally littered the school. The mess and destruction after this day left a palpable sense of agitation and frustration among faculty and staff, arguably not the best way for seniors bid farwell to their teachers. 

Ivy Besikof ‘23 reflects on last year’s events, saying, “don’t think making a mess is a prank, I would not consider last year a prank.” She hopes that this year’s class will do “something funny, thats clever, that wouldn’t harm anyone or any property. Something that would be remembered.” 

Mike Canfield speaks to his idea of a prank, saying “I think for the school, a prank, the purpose would be a group of people, a class, for example, do something that ultimately creates cohesion, identity, that they’re remembered for thats also funny, that approaches a line maybe but doesn’t go over it.” Past pranks like bringing frogs and fish in bags and placing them all over the school, with no plan for taking care of them is an example of destructive pranks done in past years. “That was really bad because it was living animals,” says Librarian Kali Olson.

Past pranks provide examples of harmful, funny days

On the complete contrary though, the concept that all Senior Pranks are bad is a gross oversimplification that, in time, and eventually causes more rebellion. “There was this one kid in one of my first years, maybe first year, she listed Blake for sale on Craigslist and just put a for sale by owner sign in front of the school,” reflects Librarian Lizz Buchanan who has seen the good and the bad of the senior pranks in her 14 years of working as a librarian. “There was one year where they made a huge pile of library furniture which was pretty destructive. The year that they filled the study rooms with balloons was cute but they never came to clean it up, it was like a ball pit, so like there’s no follow-through,” Buchanan continues. The topic of follow-through and things being cleaned up afterwards remains a very large part of why the prank is being regulated so much. “It’s ok if they want to do something, as long as they clean up after,” says Jim Arnold, who’s been teaching for over fifty years. The theme to notice is that pranks that harm people or the school environment, such piles of chairs, are just childish and rude to the janitorial team. “I was a dean for ten years, and so when I was a dean in 2008, there was a prank to end all pranks and it shouldve, they flooded the school. It was a chaotic insane experience that was completely out of hand,” says college counselor Jim Mahoney. His advisory is one of the many senior advisories graduating soon, so he’s heard about the prank from them.  “I think the initial intent is to have fun, but the impact on the community is very negative, it leaves teachers feeling very bummed, and the students feel bummed as well,” The bottom line that people are repeating, including Mahoney, Buchanan, and Arnold, is that somebody has to clean up whatever happens, which should have an impact on how the seniors decide. 

Can pranks be regulated and still fun?

*this senior’s opinion was written before the 2023 prank*


Is it still a prank if it’s regulated? Many argue that no, a major aspect of executing a prank is mastering the element of surprise. While most senior classes do choose to execute the prank on their last day at the highschool, the actual prank itself carries the surprise, and has always been a mystery to both students and staff, so there is some element of surprise left (even if Mr. Canfield knows the details)! 

Following the destructive nature of ‘22’s senior prank, the administration set rules for this year’s senior class. All prank plans were to be reported to and approved by the ‘23 grade dean, with a list of who will be carrying out each prank. Seniors have been made aware that those who do something not previously reported will not walk at graduation. Many seniors believe it is unfortunate that the previous prank made the administration feel as though they had to regulate this year’s class, as they believe it will damper some spirit of fun and surprise. The senior class had a grade meeting the week before their final week of school where Canfield explained the administration’s reasoning for regulating the prank, emphasizing to students that they hope “[the prank] would be something that everyone can appreciate, and that it’s clever and funny and at the end of the day people remember it. Theres class culture and school culture around these things. Obviously my hope for this class and what I think this class deserves is a lot of admiration and good feeling. Its no small feat for student leaders to help a group execute on a goal its a leadership question.”

Only time will tell what this year’s “prank” will be, hopefully it is both fun for the senior class, funny, surprising, and creates minor inconvenience, but avoids any major destruction of property. 

A culture change surrounding the prank is clearly necessary, last year wasn’t a prank, it was just destructive. So while it’s not ideal to have rules, it makes sense to plan ahead to make the most of the senior class’s last day. 

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