Senior pranks are a long-standing tradition and a coveted aspect of many students’ last days at Deerfield. Over the years, pranks have ranged from planting flowers in the senior grass to spell out the senior class year in 2010, to making dozens of short, but hilarious announcements at a sit-down meal last year.
Pranks that predate most students’ recent memories include stealing the cows from the lower fields and herding them behind the Main School Building, and taking all the tires from the small loop and stacking them on the flagpole.
For the Class of 2012’s prank, Dashiell Schulte ‘13 recalled, “[the seniors] announced at the end of sit-down lunch that the hunger games were to begin…and then released us from lunch. Outside the dining hall, all of our backpacks…were zip-tied together, and seniors were guarding the piles of backpacks with water guns. Everyone went to class super soaked.”
Elena Jones ’14 offered a description of another noteworthy prank, “my senior year we did an impromptu slip-and-slide.” The students set up a large tarp behind the hockey rink and slid through the mud and rain. “It was one of the best days of my Deerfield career for sure,” said Jones.
Faculty members also recall the history of the most inventive pranks executed by graduating classes. Ms. Carlson, a long time member of Deerfield’s faculty, remembered various past pranks. “People took all the dining hall silverware, pitched some furniture out the windows of a classroom, and stole the freshmen,” she said. “One that I thought was pretty clever was filling lots of cups full of water in the corridor of the MSB so that no one could get in the doors. I’m not sure most of my colleagues would agree that this was funny.”
While the pranks are well-intentioned, they can sometimes be surrounded by a negative stigma of disrespect.
Ms. Carlson added, “Most adults just don’t like the pranks. It’s late in the term, people are cranky, and it’s usually just one more hassle for the people who are inconvenienced. I personally think some sort of senior bonding experience can be fun.”
Creative senior pranks are not limited to Deerfield. Amanda Cui ‘18 recounts a legendary senior prank at her brother’s school: “My brother told me that years before he went to his boarding school, there was a legend…that one senior class diverted the traffic from…the the nearby road, into the school. Since their school is gated, all the cars driving on the highway had to pass through their campus. They set up a toll booth in the campus and collected money from the cars…They made a lot of money that day…[and] used [it] to throw a party for their class.”
Elliot Gilbert ’16 said she was looking forward to the current graduating class’s prank this year. “As a freshman, I loved the senior pranks and looked forward to being able to execute them myself, along with my class. Now that I’m a senior, I’m excited to get my turn to pull a prank on the school as a final hoorah with my grade.”
It will be up to the class of 2016 to come up with a prank to be talked about for years to come.