“A good senior prank would be something that kids are going to talk about for the next 10 years, that people are always going to try to one up and beat,” senior Manon MacAllister said. “[The] class of 2014 needs to go big or go home; we need to leave our mark on Northwood and leave the classes talking about it.”
As the school year comes to a close, seniors count down to graduation. The idea of a senior prank has crossed the minds of past Northwood students and a few senior pranks at Northwood have been quite notorious.
“Four students came in with rock climbing gear and scaled the building and put [traffic] cones in the courtyard,” testing coordinator and instructional coach Kim-Marie Hall said. “They had night vision goggles on, they were serious. There were probably 300 plus cones because they had been [hiding] them all year long.”
Carpentry teacher Dave Pendergrast has also seen unforgettable senior pranks over the past 34 years of teaching.
“One of the most memorable [pranks] was driving around the school and seeing the school bus in the middle of the driveway, and seeing all of the cafeteria tables stacked on top of the bus and on top of the school,” Pendergrast said.
Head custodian James Harris recalls the same experience.
“They were dressed up like little ninjas and they came over here with ropes,” Harris said. “They even set flowers on the [cafeteria] tables all the way from the bus lobby to the roof. That’s the most exciting prank that I’ve seen at this school.”
Although senior pranks are usually created with
good intentions, some do not always turn out that way. A few years ago, a water balloon fight started in the middle of the hallway during school. It was posted on YouTube and was in the News & Observer. This was one of the most famous pranks at Northwood.
“The water balloon fight was dangerous. Kids had water balloons and started throwing them in the building. Things got crazy and out of hand; nobody got hurt, but a lot of people got mad,” Hall said.
Seniors involved with the start of the water balloon fight had to do community service hours to be able to walk at graduation. Those who chose not to were not allowed to attend the graduation ceremony.
Other pranks like this have had similar consequences.
“We’ve had pranks before where nobody got hurt but it wasn’t fun,” assistant teacher and football coach Brian Harrington said. “They super glued the door locks. Kids could not get into the school so it cost the school a lot of money to fix all the locks…. There’s a difference between a prank and a crime.”
After power washing the glue out of the locks, the seniors were caught and charged for defacing school property. The seniors had to do community service hours and pay to replace the locks. Seniors must be aware that school policies still apply for senior pranks.
“If something is done, you have to be extremely careful that you’re not interfering with any day to day school operations, you’re not damaging any property, you’re not violating any fire codes, and to know if you’re doing that or not takes a tremendous amount of research,” principal Justin Bartholomew said.
Harrington agrees that there is a fine line between making a joke and breaking the law.
“As an employee of Chatham County Schools, I do not promote doing a senior prank. If [seniors] do one it should be tasteful,” Harrington said. “[Seniors] should remember safety first and that you’re supposed to get a laugh out of it.”
— Taylor Maloch and Kenya Lee