On April 29, a group of students in the class of 2020 got together to execute the 2020 edition of GDS’s annual senior prank. In previous years, seniors have gathered in the early mornings of Prank Day to carry out their plans—plans including flipping over chairs in the Forum, blowing up dozens of balloons or hosting a school-wide dance party with a live DJ. Last year, students humorously gathered to fill Principal Katie Gibson’s entire office with watermelons. This year, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the closures of educational institutions across the city, seniors had to get creative about how they would pull an epic prank remotely.
GDS students have been known to send school-wide email chains discussing pressing school issues or equally important new memes. In January, members of the student body sent more than 80 messages back and forth discussing the school’s controversial Turning Point USA club. Seniors chose to play on this longtime custom and sent out close to 40 different email chains running from the late morning to late evening on Prank Day.
The first email chain began with an email from senior Tayae Rogers of a student’s college admission rejection letter from Dartmouth College. Rogers was the mastermind behind the chain that subsequently developed, taking inspiration from previous seniors, who, in previous years, posted college rejection letters on the door of the college counseling office on the morning of Prank Day. She continued to email pictures of rejection letters throughout the day (blocking out students’ names on the letters in order to respect their privacy) from various other colleges and universities across the country such as Harvard University, University of Texas at Austin, Vanderbilt University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Swarthmore College. By the end of the day, the high school student body and the four GDS high school college counselors had close to 40 pictures of college rejection letters in their email inboxes.
In one of the most popular email chains of the day, entitled “Overheard at GDS: The Revival,” seniors shared their favorite quotes from teachers at the high school. Highlights in this chain included a quote by English teacher Anna Howe saying: “I don’t eat babies, but I wish I did” and science teacher Polly Martin’s comment that “Purell is like dirt. The more you eat, the stronger you get.” The comments were often bizarre and at times verged on inappropriate, but nonetheless left the student body amused.
Student organizations also joined in on the fun. 12th grade student councilman Nathaniel Rosenberg was a hot topic of Prank Day and the subject of multiple email chains. The GDS Student-Staff Council (SSC) and The Augur Bit (both of which were taken over by the senior class) reported on Rosenberg’s failure to provide the student body with milk (one of his campaign promises) and his supposed hatred of the environment; Rosenberg was accused of environmental crimes such as turning off lights, eating fish and not knowing the song “Let It Grow” from the animated film The Lorax. An impeachment hearing for Rosenberg was even scheduled via zoom at 12:02 in the afternoon. Senior Corey Dibianco jokingly joined the meeting dressed in a full suit and tie to question the supposedly “corrupt” Rosenberg on his actions as a member of the SSC. Rosenberg was convicted of the above crimes and voted to be removed from office by the end of the day.
COVID-19 has forced us to work creatively to adapt to our new isolated environments—GDS seniors certainly found an inventive solution to Prank Day and brightened the day of many in the student body. Many current GDS juniors hope to top this year’s successful Prank Day next year; we will see what they come up with.