May 26, 2012

Taking the cow to school

by Kelly Hawes

— As my son was dropping me off at work Thursday morning, his mom called my cell phone.

“Tell Jake to be sure to park in the Berry Bowl parking lot,” she said. “There’s something there he needs to see.”

The class of 2012, she said, had managed to move the Happy Burger cow.

Moments later, a colleague at the newspaper stopped in my office.

“Did you hear about the senior prank at the high school?” she asked.

She had photos, so I posted a few of them in a slide show on our website and posted links to it on Facebook and Twitter.

Later, Logansport High School Principal Matt Jones tweeted a photo of the cow standing alone and a second photo of the whole senior class posing in front of it, so I added those to the slide show we already had posted.

By evening, we had added photos provided by one of the seniors involved in the prank.

Within minutes of its initial posting, the slide show went viral.

Hundreds of people were clicking on the link and sharing it. By Friday afternoon, nearly 900 people had seen the slideshow, and more than 60 had shared it. It had racked up nearly 160 likes on Facebook and almost 60 comments.

And it was still going.

The prank made the front page of the Pharos-Tribune in addition to at least one evening newscast in Indianapolis.

Some have called it the best senior prank in 40 years. Others say it was the best ever.

Here’s what was really great about it: It was fun. It drew lots of attention. And nobody got hurt.

Congratulations to Sophie Babcock and the other students involved in organizing and carrying out this prank. Congratulations also to high school administrators and to Mr. Happy Burger, Bob Shanks, for being such good sports and playing along. Shanks even showed up to pose for pictures.

Every class wants to leave its mark, but some of these pranks go better than others.

We’ve all read about pranks that caused thousands of dollars in damage and resulted in kids getting kicked out of school and losing the chance to participate in graduation.

We’ve also read about harmless pranks that resulted in an overreaction by school administrators.

Fortunately, neither of those things happened here.

Members of the LHS class of 2012 have set a standard for classes that follow. Here’s hoping they were paying attention.

While I’m on the topic, I just have to point out we have some truly great kids at Logansport High School. I think about that fact every spring as I attend some of the many events aimed at recognizing the accomplishments of local students.

I thought about it last weekend as I was sitting at the high school’s annual Tony Awards program in the McHale Performing Arts Center, one of the outstanding high school auditoriums in the state.

The program, which is planned and organized by students, recognizes those who participate in the school’s various theatrical productions for their outstanding work. We have some incredibly talented students at Logansport High School.

These kids put on some spectacular productions year after year.

I’m struck by the same thing as I sit in other programs and watch students recognized for their academic achievements and their athletic accomplishments.

Logansport High School has been truly blessed.

We saw more evidence of that last week as administrators revealed the results of this year’s end-of-course assessments for algebra.

Every freshman who took the exam passed it, and 30 of the 42 students achieved a “pass-plus” rating.

The scores provide further evidence that the school is well on the way to earning the recognition it deserves. It’s an outstanding school with a staff dedicated to helping students achieve their potential.

• Kelly Hawes is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5155 or