As the school buses pulled up to the Basking Ridge Campus early Tuesday morning, and the cars made their way slowly through the drop-off line, faculty, staff and parents squinted their eyes to be sure they were seeing things right. The smell of BBQ was wafting through the chilly morning air, and there, underneath Pingry’s imposing clock tower, were several cars and trucks parked haphazardly at the front entrance. Seniors were lounging in lawn chairs, having what appeared to be a tailgate party. Dressed in Hawaiian shirts and holding spatulas, they were roasting hot dogs and hamburgers in the brisk air–smiling, laughing, sharing a joke. It was Senior Prank Day at Pingry, and the seniors were off to an early-morning start.
Was there a purple wig on the John Pingry statue? Photo evidence remains elusive. Did all of the senior couches somehow wind up outside? This reporter can neither confirm nor deny. Was there a shaving cream welcome scrawled across the front doors (SENIOR PRANK DAY 2023)? Were similar sentiments colorfully scrawled on the atrium windows? Were those toilet paper streamers hanging from the ceiling of this revered institution? Again, eyewitness accounts were scarce.
As the senior fun merged with the unfolding academic day, there was a buzz in the air. Parents began arriving in the Upper Commons shortly before 10:00 a.m. and quickly mixed in with seniors strolling around in their SENIOR 2023 emblazoned t-shirts. A crowd began forming on the stairs–two, then three deep; soon five and six deep, until the students squeezed together and draped themselves over the banisters, or sat on the second floor with their legs swinging over the edge. Parents tried to peer over college-bound seniors standing tall. And in the senior lounge below, The Balladeers gathered for their annual mini-concert.
Suddenly, the school day was overtaken by the sounds of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”.
Just like the smells from that early-morning BBQ, the music filled the atrium and wafted down the halls to the faculty lounge and past the Engel Dining Room, past the CAST Suite and in and out of locker spaces where friends leaned in close, past soccer players juggling a balloon that fell in a wobbling slow motion to their awaiting feet. It was Wednesday at Pingry, a place of the unexpected, and amidst the tightly packed crowds and the songs washing over them, there was a wistful sense that soon a part of this community would move on. After all, Thursday was prom.
The school listened intently as the Balladeers serenaded them to the dreamy song “Heat Waves”, followed by an unexpected rendition of Madonna’s “Material Girl”.
The Pingry community had gathered round to watch the Balladeers sing in earnest, in front of a cheerfully graffitied window, decorated by a senior class that had grown up within these walls, and would soon be gone.
Did the seniors take it a little too far? Perhaps. Yet…weren't we all seniors once?
Reports can neither confirm nor deny, but this reporter suspects yes.
Contact: Sara Courtney, Communications Writer