Evolution of the Senior Prank

Tikloh Bruno-Basaing, Sports Editor

For the past few decades, seniors have left their mark on Urban with an annual senior prank. The past few years have included pranks such as rearranging furniture, sleeping in classrooms, and having a dance party at school. Last year, the senior grade had an event at the school with fun surprise activities all to themselves. The next day, the class pranked the school by announcing they had all been suspended as a result of actions occurring the previous night.

This year, for the class of 2019, there isn’t a senior prank. Instead, there was a similar event held for seniors at school with more activities to promote unity within the grade. Co-president of the Urban School Conor Robbins ‘19 explained the reasoning for the change: “The original idea behind the prank was to promote class unity, but it came at the expense of others in the same community. We can come up with something equally as fun with the same shock value.”

The purpose of having a senior prank was to encourage bonding and connections, similar to many other grade events and trips held by Urban. By the nature of a prank, however, this process often failed to uphold the Blues values by targeting people and causing destruction. Assistant Head of Student Life Charlotte Worsley recalled one of the worst senior pranks in her time at Urban, when the senior class hung a tarp across the old library railing and filled it with water and live goldfish; to clean up the mess, the goldfish had to die. Harsh pranks like this, some 20 years ago, led Worsley and the Student Committee team to reconsider the tradition.

The new concept for a senior event rather than a prank originated from the co-presidents of the class of 2018, Abby Walker and Tonalli Vargas. The event included physical and engaging activities that allowed the senior grade to be together in isolation from the rest of the school for a night. It is similar to the past years when the seniors would congregate alone in the school the night before the unveiling of the prank, and they would have fun bonding activities to unite their group. The issue that arose many years ago was that the event came at the expense of the rest of the school and excluded all others. Robbins said that the new tradition shares the same spirit as the original pranks: “The positive goal of both different events is the same, but by leaving out the prank itself, the school can avoid all of the negative repercussions.”

As explained by Charlotte Worsley, encouraging acts that have destructive or offensive potential is rarely beneficial. In the densely populated and expensive area of the Haight that Urban is in, “we can’t afford to piss off our neighbors,” said Worsley. With the installment of this new senior event and the end of pranking, there should be no disappointment. The seniors themselves did not feel they are missing out, as “the seniors themselves didn’t have as much motivation to do it and it became something that they had to do,” said Worsley. Worsley, who has always been involved in the planning of the pranks, does not have to do something at the expense of the community she helps run. Additionally, there are no students or faculty that will have to deal with the mess from the seniors’ pranks. The evolution of this tradition is a result of efforts to create a more positive environment for not only the graduating class but those who will be here in the future. Though the final decision to end the prank was made by the administration, the shift is meant to benefit everyone, including the students.