Process behind pranks


photo courtesy of Alexis Bell

Spanish teacher Deby Kijak brings a filled water bottle, and is questioned by seniors Ilana Kaplan and Shira Godin, as is a normal procedure in airport security. This process held up students attempting to enter the building and created a line out the door.

The senior prank has been a long-standing tradition for as long as Dean of Students Roslyn Landy has worked at the school: over 41 years. Seniors prepare the logistics weeks in advance and come into school the night before the prank to set everything up. However, the process of planning the prank is more elaborate than believed to be.

Earlier this year, the class of 2019 presidents, Max Stravitz and Ari Gershengorn, sent out a form to their grade asking them to submit ideas for the prank. After collecting the responses, they invited the grade to a town hall meeting to discuss each idea and eventually come to a general theme. After the meeting, Stravitz and Gershengorn, along with senior class vice presidents Alexis Bell and Liam Shemesh, established the theme and planned out the details that would go into the prank’s execution.

After the presidents and vice presidents specified the plan, the four went to Landy for approval, which is always required before the execution of all senior pranks. For the past 15 years, Landy has required the seniors to plan out the final steps of the prank in her company to ensure that everything stays under control because many years ago, seniors did not go to Landy for approval on their prank, and she said sometimes it “got out of hand.”

Although Landy has frequently vetoed students’ ideas in the past, she said that this year’s airport-themed prank was not difficult to agree upon. 

“They set [the prank] up easily and it did not cause any mess,” Landy said. “They were cooperative and they cleaned it up immediately.”

According to Landy, usually only 20 students show up the night before the prank to set up. However, this year almost four times that number came to school and helped prepare.

“This class really came out, they worked together, they had a lot of fun and they had ice cream,” Landy said.

This year was easier to plan and execute than in years past, and this year’s class was mostly in agreement on deciding their prank. Although there were some conflicts in the town hall, once they spoke with Landy, “everyone was pretty much on board,” Gershengorn said.

This was a change from years past. According to Landy, previously, pranks had been a lot more “destructive.”

“In the past years what [the seniors] have done is they cut up all the SAT booklets and threw them all over the place,” Landy said. “They make a mess, and it’s kind of silly.”

Junior Zach Gross said that it is a good idea to keep up with the tradition of a senior prank despite the planning process being strenuous and disagreements within the junior class over the prank.

“From a student’s perspective, [the prank is] really annoying, but if I was a senior I’d be laughing,” Gross said.

Though the prank varies from year to year, one constant throughout the process is the grade’s cooperation. The senior class has the opportunity to plan something unique and enjoyable for the whole school before they graduate.

“It was fun, I had a good time setting up,” Stravitz said. “It was cool to see it all come together.”

This story was featured in the Volume 36, Issue 4 edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on January 25, 2019.