Past The Statue Of Limitations

, , , , , | Learning | March 4, 2019

In Germany, it’s custom that after their finals, the graduates will play a prank on the school and teachers. In my father’s year, however, they get a new principal with no sense of humour whatsoever and they’re forbidden to do so. The graduates decide that only makes it even more fun.

The father of one of the graduates owns the local junkyard. The father of another one owns a construction company. My father’s mother has a beverage store.

They meet up with some other graduates at the junkyard on a Friday night. My father brings some crates of beer, and the construction company owner’s son brings welding equipment, angle grinders and such, and a small excavator. Someone else brings a tractor with a large trailer; it’s a fairly rural area. They then spend the night building a huge statue from junk, randomly cutting and welding things together. Before sunrise, they bring it to the school with the tractor. They dig a huge hole in the school’s front yard and cement the statue two meters deep in the ground.

When the principal discovers the statue on Monday morning, he’s furious. He gets a shovel and tries to dig it out himself. When that fails, he calls a construction company. Spoiler: The statue is still there today.

He then threatens to withhold all the graduation certificates if the culprits are not turned in, but it turns out that’s not legal. In the end, the prom is cancelled as a punishment.

But the story does not end there. Some younger students still have classes. An arts teacher decides to make the prank the subject of her next exam and asks her students to write an interpretation of the statue’s composition and the “artist’s” intentions. My father’s little sister is in her class and writes, “It was late. There was beer. They just welded together whatever they found. There was no planning beforehand and the message it’s intended to convey is ‘suck our d***s, [Principal].'” While that was 100% accurate, it was not what the teacher wanted to read, and my aunt got an F.

Every year since then, the graduates at this school have built a statue and displayed it at the schoolyard. When my cousin graduated from there a few years ago, I visited the school for the first time and she showed me their impressive “statue yard” behind the actual schoolyard. They make sure now to actually plan the statue and design it to convey a more elaborate message, though, because that arts exam has become a tradition, too.

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