When Tammy Silvernell got a call from her district’s superintendent about students leaving a senior prank on Glens Falls High School’s front lawn Friday, she admittedly wasn’t too thrilled.
These were the students she first met when she took over the role of principal four years ago. She didn’t know them to be pranksters.
“I didn’t really anticipate it,” Silvernell said. “They’re pretty mild-mannered.”
But the students surely surprised her. They left a giant sign in front of the school’s main entrance, reading “For sale, vacant since March.” Around it were “honk for the 2020 graduate that lives here” lawn signs, which all graduates — at one point — had in front of their homes.
Upon hearing the news of the prank, administration and custodial staff got together to look at footage and see exactly who left the sign. And it wasn’t until they planned on taking the sign down when they noticed a note on the back of it, addressed to them.
“On what would’ve been our last full day of high school, we couldn’t think of a better day to pull our senior prank,” the note read. “This was all in good fun, we hope to have made you laugh and miss us a little more, as I’m sure we all would rather be in the school instead of standing outside it.”
The letter wrapped up with a request to keep the sign up to “make the community smile,” a promise to pick up the individual lawn signs and a thank you for four years of learning.
Silvernell said she’s never seen anything like it in 30 years, calling them “the most polite pranksters ever.”
“I think it was their way to say, ‘We know you’re doing the best you can. We’re doing the best we can.’ And just letting us know that the past four years has been a good experience for them,” Silvernell said. “‘Even though this is the way it is, I think it’s been a good experience,’ which meant the world.”
While Silvernell usually gives the same speech at each graduation ceremony — saying that the day “isn’t about” the students, but rather those supporting them, she feels a bit differently this year.
“This year really is about these kids,” Silvernell says. “Not that their families don’t matter, not that the staff doesn’t matter, the teachers, they’ve just missed out on all those pieces of closure that I feel like they’re due. So I’m glad, you know, we’ve got some ways to honor them. But I’m also glad, like I said, to see that they haven’t lost their sense of humor.”