A good joke goes a long way, so it is little wonder why every antsy senior class has its own prank to pull on Wesleyan. Ranging from the elaborate to endearing, from small to seditious and from individual to common, every year the senior class leaves with a prank.
Practical jokes have one of the highest potential for laughter as well as the opposite. Senior Leandro Haddad said, “A good prank is one that’s memorable and no one gets hurt.” Dramatic irony and subverted expectations should be just as entertaining for the victim as the prankster. “It’s a mutual laugh,” said physics teacher Scott Schroer. “It’s funny for the people involved.”
Schroer, a Wesleyan alumnus, is a veritable goldmine of old pranks. He enjoys the tradition, and said, “Obviously senior pranks can go wrong, but done in the right context, it’s a great end to the year.” He recounted several senior pranks he witnessed over the years.
“I know there were seniors in my freshman year who came in way before school with hundreds of beach balls to put in the lake. There were so many, you couldn’t even see the water!”
“The grade above me taped everyone’s cell phones underneath the pews in chapel, and called in the middle of Friday service. There had to be a hundred phones going off at once.
“Another was six or seven years above me. Somebody waxed all the floors, and people were just eating it left and right. There was an obvious line of normal floor, waxed floor, normal floor, but it kept happening anyway.”
When responding to how hard it is to organize a class of teenagers to complete a common goal, Schroer laughed and said, “I had a buddy named Jim Sheffield that had been planning his senior prank since freshman year or something. It was crazy elaborate; he claimed he had a cousin who wrestled alligators, and was planning on acquiring multiple alligators to put near the brick walls at Cleghorn.” It never happened. “There’s always talk of leading cows up stairs, but we never followed through on them.”
Even if they are driven, teenagers are not known for their decision making skills. The appropriateness of a prank can be hard to gauge, and students have made mistakes in the past.
“These seniors went down to the lake lots and started switching out everyone’s license plates. I don’t know what their end goal was—people getting pulled over months later and getting arrested? I think it was Khedouri that drove down halfway through and told them it may or may not be a felony.”
Griffin Bone, another Wesleyan alumnus, agreed. He said, “Yeah, kids can make bad decisions in the moment. This one kid I know shot a BB gun at a friend’s car when he caught them rolling his house. The window shattered, and there were no senior pranks tolerated that year.”
A more wholesome prank, still fresh in the memory of students, is alumnus Ryan Preston’s visage hidden throughout Wesleyan. The last year, Preston’s friends printed hundreds of black and white stickers of his face and hid them throughout Wesleyan. Teachers were finding his expression on the ceilings, behind cabinet doors, on staplers and sharpeners, even in literal nooks and crannies behind desks and chairs. There were hundreds found, but after a thorough search, dozens still remain hidden from view.
It was harmless, humorous and stood the test of time—the very definition of a perfect prank. It is impossible to tell what each year’s senior class is planning, but with such a good example to follow, hopes are high for a good laugh.