A History of Senior Pranks

As Prize Day looms near, seniors indulge in the infamous “senior spring,” where they have less work, and therefore more time to dwell on their upcoming departures. What better way to make the last few weeks special than to pull off an unforgettable prank? Senior pranks generally happen in mid to late May, and many make a big splash in the Groton community.

A classic example of a Groton senior prank is the unusually long Roll Call, similar to a filibuster in the United States Senate. A filibuster consists of far too many announcements, accompanied by plenty of birthday shout-outs. More than once, seniors took out a dictionary and started reading it out loud before the proctor’s desk. Oftentimes, the prank cut into the first period of classes. It wasn’t until the dictionary verbatim cut into second period that the administration ruled it unacceptable. Afterwards, disruptive pranks have become less frequent; however, enthusiasm for the yearly senior prank has not diminished.

According to French teacher Rebecca Stanton, the Form of 2012 pulled the most memorable prank she has seen throughout her 25 years at Groton. The seniors unscrewed the desks and chairs in the Schoolroom to move a small car into the middle of the space, and placed the bust of Rev. Peabody in the driver’s seat. Execution of the prank was difficult, for it involved rolling the car up the Schoolhouse ramp and in through the small doors of the Schoolroom. One faculty member, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated, “a lot of science went into this actual project.” With a lot of planning and coordination, the Form of 2012 pulled a prank that surely made everyone laugh.

Another prank, organized by the seniors of 2008, involved hanging a banner in front of the chapel with the faces of Headmaster Richard Commons, Dean of Students Nancy Hughes, and Academic Dean Kathy Leggat. Written above and below their pictures were “Big Brother is Watching” and “Obey,” both references to the dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell. Mr. Capen, who witnessed the banners on the side of the chapel, described it as one of the “most ingenious” pranks in Groton’s history. Due to poor weather and technical issues, it took multiple attempts to hang the massive banner, which was constructed solely out of printer paper. This was one of several pranks involving banners. Others have included the words “For Sale” on Hundred House and last year’s rasterbation across the Schoolhouse covered in Bart Simpson’s quote, “I will not pull a prank.”

In the past, seniors have striven to disrupt the day by kidnapping the student body through their pranks. Fourteen years ago, the seniors woke students up in waves, sneaking them down to the boathouse. Eventually, they kidnapped the entire school and held the chapel service by the Nashua River. After that, they entertained the school with games and announcements. Although students were provided with the option of attending morning classes, the School did little more than ask them to be back by Conference. Another class of seniors pulled a similar prank a couple years ago, but only kidnapped Lower Schoolers, many of whom were found eating donuts in the squash courts.

Any mention of senior pranks would be incomplete without saluting the Form of 2016’s carnival on the Circle. On a particularly beautiful spring day, the senior class set up inflatables, lawn games, and even organized for an ice cream truck to come. The best part, however, was that the entire student body was able to enjoy the prank. Many students got out of classes and spent the day relaxing under the sun.

This year’s prank was different from any in the past. On May 25, Groton seniors  “switched” with their counterparts at Lawrence Academy. At Groton, Lawrence seniors listened to a chapel talk and attended roll call, where they contributed to the excitement of Spirit Week with bizarre announcements. After the prank, seniors from each school returned to their respective campuses, and Groton’s Form of 2018 enjoyed the remainder of the day off.

From Roll Call announcements to banners, pranks are an interesting and creative way to make unforgettable memories, especially for seniors who get to finish Groton on a fun note.