April Fools’ Day Pranks Through the Ages

By Abby Gagermeier, Feature Editor

Ralph Round (class of ‘57) reeled back his throwing arm, projectile in hand. The raw egg flew across the room in slow motion, finally sticking the landing. “It hit square on the forehead, right here,” said Mr. Round, with his finger placed in between his eyes. He had successfully egged the vice principal, before sprinting in the opposite direction.

In the spirit of April Fools Day, Mr. Round confessed his decade old secret. It was a different era in the fifties, and students got away with all kinds of shenanigans. Nowadays, with plenty of security cameras and respect for our teachers, such eggy actions are unheard of. But even in 2019, students (and teachers alike) can appreciate the harmless, comedic pranks that April 1st offers.

Principal Ben Nowak has been on the receiving end of a few of these presumptuous jokes. Since moving from McLean High School to Falls Church, our sweater-vest loving Principal, has adorned his office with several lamp fixtures. “He was very particular about his lamps,” says Mrs. Megan Walker, a history teacher at Falls Church, and thus came an opportunity.

In collusion with McLean staff, a handful of Dr. Nowak’s colleagues set up an elaborate scheme, tagging each lamp with fake FCPS warnings that claimed the lamps as property of McLean High School. Dr. Nowak came back from a meeting to find the tags, and a formal letter accusing him of stolen property. “I was freaking out for a good 15 to 20 minutes,” says Dr. Nowak.

Eventually, guilt ridden, Mrs. Walker and her partners in crime, Ms. Alyson Soderstrom and Ms. Jordan Hales, came clean. But that wouldn’t be the end of it for Dr. Nowak. Later on, while away at more meetings, Mr. Peter Lake covered his boss’ office in Chilean flags, complete with a matching lei, and a giant, patriotic flag.

April Fools Day ascends past all stereotypes and relationships. For one day a year, the playing field is leveled, so long as the pranks are school appropriate. Teisha Vaje (12) notes that smaller jokes are always fun; such as the “Aha, you’re shoes are untied” moments. But she adds that you have to be careful about who you prank, “I would prank Mr. Roller, but there are some teachers that you shouldn’t mess with.”

Despite any short-term negative repercussions, the tradition of April Fools Day pranking continues. “I’ve never pranked another teacher,” says Assistant Principal Day Leary. “But now that you’ve suggested it…”