“This is what we love about this year’s seniors.” “It was truly the best senior prank ever.” “It was so well coordinated,” and “How could anyone ever top this?” were some of the overwhelmingly positive reactions to the Class of ‘22’s long anticipated “senior prank.”

Last Friday, March 11th, most of the senior class dressed up as teachers and faculty members of Providence Academy in an unconventional approach to the tradition. They only wanted to do it if they could do it right, so speaking with administration for permission was crucial for a flawless execution. 

Matthew Narog ’22 enjoys impersonating the beloved Upper School English teacher, Mr. Adam Schmalzbauer, who can always be identified by his gait and jingling keys on his belt. Narog commented on the experience saying, “It was very empowering to walk like ‘Schmalz’ for a day. I see why he walks like that.”

First, members of the senior class asked Mr. Kurt Jaeger, Director of the Upper School, and Mrs. Kate Gregg, Upper School Administrative Assistant. Both Jaeger and Gregg were eager to give their approval.

“I thought it was a really creative way to do a senior prank that was, in some ways, a tribute to teachers as well,” commented Jaeger. 

The next step was checking with teachers to be certain all were aware and none would be offended. Not only did teachers approve of the idea, but they encouraged it as well. Some even offered clothing and impersonation tips to ensure authenticity.  

Upper School English teacher Adam Schmalzbauer reflected, “I was touched when they asked me. I endorsed the plan, of course, because imitation is the greatest form of flattery.”

Upper School Administrative Assistant Mrs. Kate Gregg smiles alongside her student doppelgänger Mary Rillens Lee ’22. Gregg is known for her colorful sweaters and stylish earrings, so Lee captures the look perfectly.

In addition to talking with teachers, seniors had to juggle logistics for the day. Matthew Narog, ‘22 took this on. He was the driving force behind the prank and seniors could not be more thankful. Narog made spreadsheets, matched students to teachers, sent reminder emails, and more, in addition to committing fully to impersonating the teacher to which he was assigned. He, with the help of a handful of seniors, united forty of the Class of ‘22 in one effort to create a special day for everyone. 

“I couldn’t stop laughing. It made me so happy all day. It put everyone in such a fun mood, both teachers and students,” Gregg noted smiling.

Joseph Uzelac ’22 pulls out all the stops to impersonate Dr. Jeff Biebighauser, Upper School Latin and English teacher. Like a true theater student, Uzelac spent weeks studying his part. He reflected on the experience saying, “I loved comparing and contrasting my mannerisms with his and seeing how my impression measured up to the real deal.”

The day exceeded expectation in every way. Seniors arrived at school unmistakably dressed as the teachers they were impersonating and faculty members were delighted to find their student doppelgängers. Students went so far as to learn to replicate distinct mannerisms, phrases, and attire of their teachers. Some teachers even gave their impersonators opportunities to teach classes or take their place throughout the day. 

In addition to putting smiles on faces, seniors found a perfect middle ground between honoring teachers and poking fun. The respectful tone of the day demonstrated a true bond between teachers and students. 

“As teachers, I think we’ve all been mocked. But to be imitated respectfully, as in this case, that is something different entirely,” remarked Schmalzbauer. 

Headmaster Dr. Todd Flanders reflected, “We really appreciate a spirit of creativity and goodness here at PA. Pranks are often perceived as negative things, but the seniors found a way to have fun in a positive way. It was so charming.” 

Paul Hogan ’22 spends Friday, March 11th looking strikingly similar to Mr. Joshua Blonski, Upper School Dean of Students. The sweater and lanyard tie Hogan’s ensemble together, as Blonski is famous for this outfit.

The headmaster also hinted that this group of seniors will likely be remembered for a long time. The event even grabbed the attention of PA alumni, who followed the prank via social media. Underclassmen also stared in awe as they watched their classmates turn into teachers.

“I thought the prank itself put our culture at PA on full display. It showed how well staff and students know each other. It really said something about this group of seniors and what we are about here at PA,” reflected Jaeger. 

Although seniors have handed back their teachers’ name tags and returned to their uniforms, something is different in the air at PA. The Class of ‘22 has left an indelible mark on Providence Academy’s history, and it’s evident teachers expected nothing less.