A big surprise was awaiting the Groton School students as they walked out of chapel on a sunny Tuesday morning. Starting from the chapel steps, arrows drawn in chalk formed a line leading towards the Schoolhouse, which was transformed into a carnival for the day. At the entrance was a colorful banner reading, “Welcome to the Carnival”, and seniors dressed in crazy outfits led the puzzled, yet excited students into the Hall for roll call. From the start, it was quite clear that the senior prank of 2013 triumphed over others in the past.
There was a Spiderman bouncy castle in the middle of the schoolroom and a dunk tank placed outside. In addition, many activities took place in the Hall such as Open Mic, corn hole, and apple-bobbing throughout the day. There was no question that the seniors had spent a lot of time, energy, and thought in order to make the day enjoyable for everybody. The idea first came three months ago, when Suzanna Hamer and Naomi Wright suggested getting a bouncy castle and putting it in the middle of the schoolroom. They said it was inspired by last year’s senior prank, when a car was moved into the schoolroom. Luckily for us, the two-hundred dollar bouncy castle left them with much more money that could be spent in their budget, so this was when their creativity was ignited. Why not just turn the whole school into a full carnival?
That was when the dunk tank came in, which brought much amusement to the students on that day. Many can easily say that the highlight of the day was when Mr. Commons dunked with only his shorts and pink tie on. This was another amazing aspect about the senior prank this year: the faculty response. Rather than the nature of senior pranks which are against the faculty members, this year’s gave a chance for them to be a part of the prank and enjoy it. Most teachers—with a few exceptions—were pretty lenient about letting their students out early to explore the carnival. Even the ice-cream truck was a special treat from the school. “The ice-cream truck was a surprise even to us,” Naomi Wright said. Because of their budget, Chris King had to cancel their calling the ice-cream truck, but apparently the company had forgotten and showed up anyways. Instead of sending them back, the Deans’ Office contributed in paying the fees for the ice-cream, since they were so impressed by what the seniors have done.
Although the idea arose three months ago , and the organizing and planning started three weeks ago, one of the most important factors that determine the success of a senior prank is the ability for them to set it up overnight. So the seniors devoted their 10-12 on Monday night and morning sleep on the following Tuesday to this project. However, the preparation was smooth due to their effective planning and excellent teamwork. The first senior prank of moving the couches in the senior section into the schoolroom was a preliminary round of the prank that was to follow. Many, before knowing that this was a simple act of securing space for the bouncy castle in advance, thought that it was a lame senior prank and Naomi said that “it was so hard to keep the secret in.” However, this saved them a lot of time the night before the carnival. They also split the work amongst themselves for the greatest efficiency. For example, Suzanna Hamer and Charlotte Berkowitz were in charge of the posters, Tom Santinelli and about eight other seniors removed the desks in the Schoolroom, and Hugh McGlade had to deal with the curious faculty members. Naomi commented, “This was a huge form bonding experience. I never saw our form work so hard all together. Everyone had a lot of pride and unity around the prank.”
On Tuesday morning, the bouncy castle arrived at 6:15 A.M. and the dunk tank at 6:45. The campus security spotted trucks transporting these devices, and contacted Ms. Petroskey, who soon called Mr. Commons. They were not upset, however. Rather, they were very happy to see the great effort the seniors had made. After they were assured that the planned activities were safe, they willingly gave permission to carry out the senior prank. In the Hall, during roll call, Mr. Commons said, “I would like to thank the class of 2013 for transforming the Schoolhouse into a circus. I never imagined that it was possible for the school to change like this.” The response from the student body was great as well. Many thought that it was very sweet for the senior class to organize such an amazing event for everybody.