Springtime shenanigans ensue on The Hill: The art of the senior prank

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  • For their Sixth Form Prank, the Class of 2013 placed Mr. Lehman’s golf cart in the dining hall with his chair strapped to the top

  • The Class of 2012 taped off the walkways around the Quad with caution tape as their Sixth Form Prank.

  • The Class of 2011’s Sixth Form Prank involved filling the Student Center with balloons

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As the spring season flourishes across The Hill’s campus, the air grows warmer with excitement. For the 6th form class, mischievous schemes are afoot. Hill is no stranger to absurd shenanigans, as every 6th form class plots the best way to leave their final mark on the school. Though perhaps not viewed from the same perspective as sixth form tea, J-Ball, or seated dinners, faculty look back upon these antics as an integral part of the spring term. 

This tradition dates as far back as the early 1900s, and has been present throughout national high school and college campuses. During Hill’s early years, as technology was less sophisticated, some of the first recorded pranks include placing mattresses on the roof of Upper School dormitory, turning fire hoses on sleeping boys, and, on one rare occasion, rewiring the electricity of the Upper School to be connected to one room. Later, in 1981, a sign was displayed on the soccer field, “For Sale: 29 buildings, 1 newly renovated. If interested, call Chuck [Headmaster Charles. C Watson].” The class of ‘00, however, saw backlash from the administration for their hijacking of the Alumni Chapel speaker system, having it blare ‘obnoxious’ music at 3 in the morning. The noise lasted until security could resolve the issue. The subsequent discipline unfortunately saw the new millennium’s decline in creativity, as many classes stuck to varying themes of “chairs,” such as the Class of ‘02, where the chairs throughout campus were taped together.

These pranks are seen as a reflection of the class’s dedication, creativity, and spirit, so it should make sense that execution varies tremendously. Patrick Lake P ’24 ‘25 remarked, “A great concept for a prank was to fill the Dell with rubber duckies. But in execution, those duckies only filled about ten percent of the surface area, and it was a bit depressing! A few years ago (five perhaps), a successful and feel-good prank involved an elaborate and pretty extensive mass artwork on the walkways of the school with sidewalk chalk. There were a few … very few … things written that were at a PG rating, but nothing truly inappropriate.”

Other pranks have sought to have a bigger impact on the day-to-day function of the school. William Yinger recalled his favorite, “Spring of 1993, we still had the sit-down breakfast required, 7:10 AM, full academic dress. Brutal mornings for sure. We all walk into the dining hall, bleary-eyed and exhausted from staying up and working. Ties were barely on. The sixth form had broken into the Dining Hall the night before and removed every single table and chair, then reset the table clothes on the floor, folded to the exact size of every table, and set the plates and all right on top. It looked like a magician had simply disappeared the furniture. It was amazing.  We didn’t know what to do so we sat cross-legged on the ground and ate breakfast. Mr. Watson, our Headmaster at the time, went to the podium at the end of the meal and said something to the effect of, “Nicely done gentlemen, I am sure that Lunch will take place as normal…..”.

However, other classes strove to think outside the box, or rather, the campus. “[One time,] the 6th form president contacted the Pottstown police and set up the following prank; The entire 6th form went to the police station after check-in the night before graduation. They then had the Chief of Police call the Dean on Duty to report that he had a few Hill students in custody. The Dean and Headmaster arrived only to find the entire 6th form in ‘jail’ enjoying ice cream with all of the Officers on duty that night,” recalled Mark Nelson P ’10 ‘13. 

And so, it appears that the Class of ‘22 has their work cut out for them. As the time of action draws closer, respect and dignity must be considered beside risk and ingenuity. A prank is a reflection of the class, and must be observed as a means of legacy. The Class of ‘22 will be sure to continue this tradition in such a manner, leaving their final mark on the school.