Thursday, June 4, 2009

Prankly, my dear...

It's that time of the school year when we're just hoping to make it to graduation safely, unscathed. It's not a downhill slide; it's a sprint to the abrupt finish, with the Powderpuff Pep Rally (not without its own controversy last year) and Football Game tomorrow, and Prom on Saturday. It would be super nice if everyone had fun and no one got hurt or in trouble.

The week started on Monday morning with the annual Senior Prank. Students strung the entire campus quad with yarn, creating a web that prevented teachers and students from reaching and opening classroom doors and buildings. A number of seniors pitched tents on our grassy knoll and spent the night. They plugged a portable fridge into an outlet on the quad and had just finished eating the pancakes they fried up for breakfast on a camp stove when we arrived.

The Senior Prank is a tradition stretching back to who-knows-how-far back. Last week we read in the paper of another local high school's prank, in which students were apprehended and cited by police as they moved desks and furniture out to the football field to spell out "2009." Our own school's Prank History has its dark chapter, when students painted not only The Rock, but some newly constructed buildings on campus. Students responsible paid serious consequences, and the specter of that event hangs over each year's prank planning.

But we've reached a place with our student body where there's mutual respect. And some mutual understanding that fun can be had without high costs if certain lines aren't crossed. So we take the risk of not condemning the very possibility of pranks, and students take on the task of containing their pranks within reasonable boundaries. And policing one another.

And police each other they did, this year. As students were cleaning up--cutting yarn and reeling it in--one student shared, "You know, Ms. M., it may not look like it, but we had pretty strict regulations for this prank." She pointed to some toilet paper hanging from tall tree branches. "See that? We told the people doing that to knock it off. TP was NOT part of our prank."

Later, as a staff member and I surveyed the campus from her classroom door, marveling at how little evidence remained from the capers of the evening before, I mentioned that the students had apparently made rules for the prank. "I know," she enigmatically proclaimed, "Like no blow-up dolls!"

Huh, I thought. Blow-up dolls have actually figured prominently in pranks my own friends have played on each other...Ahem.

And lo and behold, near the end of the day, when the last tents had been unpitched (and the students sleeping in one during 5th period were chased off to class), we discovered a blow-up doll in a trash can on the edge of campus. A terrible-looking one, with pigtails. Some kids actually made their classmates throw it away, I couldn't help admiring.

It's hard to explain, but that pretty much made my day. Cute kids. With a lot of heart and soul. I'm going to miss this senior class.

1 comment:

Mama Deb said...

Wow! Could we be turning a to a generation with respect??

And, oh-my-gosh-how-old-do-I-sound asking that question? ha.