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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Louie’s April Fools fun: Did I just win $300,000?

Florence Hu
Louie presents a combination of genuine and fake lottery scratchers.

Be warned: Don’t trust anything coming from principal Greg Louie around April 1.

 Early one Saturday morning on April 1, 2023, I and many others in the community received an email titled “Extended School Year” in which our esteemed principal delivered a serious message: The supposed “Commission on California Schools Instruction Minutes Committee (CSMIC)” had determined that recent power outages and the discovery of students not participating in “Academically Appropriate or Social Emotionally Relevant” activities during tutorial warranted extending school. I bit my lip and grimaced at the next section. The options were grim: making up for the lost time meant extending school to 4:30 p.m. each day, delivering proof of productivity during tutorials or forgoing Spring Break for the school. 

Expecting the worst, I cautiously clicked on the hyperlink, which claimed to redirect me to a survey. Festive lettering appeared before me: April Fool’s Day! 

I exhaled and rolled my eyes, but at least I was relieved that the joke was on me.

Louie said it was “low-hanging fruit” that took advantage of the power outage situation. Of course, he still had parents shock-rage-emailing him, though.

“I get a bunch of emails from people who don’t read the full thing, and it’s interesting and almost comedic in terms of the amount of response they send to me,” Louie said. “It’s this long, written response about how it’s irresponsible and thoughtless until they find out it’s a joke and respond really quickly with ‘Oh, you got me!’”

It wasn’t the first prank he’s pulled. When he was a principal at Santa Teresa High school more than a decade ago, one issue going around at the time was the separation of the church and the state. Louie sent out a message claiming the state was passing new legislation: Any schools with religious monikers or mascots would have to change them, and the students at Santa Teresa could no longer be the Saints — all of which was well-targeted satire on his part. Another year, he and Kelly Daugherty (a teacher at Independence High School) claimed that the two schools would be swapping principals, which unsurprisingly also tricked many students and parents.

This year, Louie walked around with a hand of scratch-off lottery tickets — something he does from time to time with the staff — except this pool contained a few exceptionally “lucky” tickets that would miraculously entitle the winner to over $300,000. Even the fine print on the back mocks back: “All prizes subject to availability at the time of purchase, which is never because you got deluded by the fine person who provided you with this prank fake ticket […] To expedite validation, please place winning ticket under your pillow for Air Delivery via the Tooth Fairy Express.”

Earlier this year, Louie couldn’t just pass up the opportunity to have April Fools fun with a friend. He happened to have a meeting with superintendent Bill Sanderson earlier on the day of April 1, and together they set up a Google Meet with assistant principal Abra Evanoff, thanked her for her service in SHS and informed her that she would be going to be transferred to LGHS to fill one of their vacant positions. 

“Immediately after the call ended,” Louie recalled. “She walked over to my office and asked me ‘Is this for real?’” He had to admit it wasn’t.

Evanoff wasn’t the only fellow administrator to be the object of a prank. On a fateful day before assistant principal Matt Torrens’s birthday, Louie and activities director Kristen Cunningham snuck inside his office, put a layer of Saran Wrap over his door and filled the space in between with colorful plastic balls. Torrens was in for a surprise; upon opening the door the next morning, he watched as the balls poured out and rolled all over the place.

Courtesy of Kristen Cunningham

Colored balls fill the space between the saran wrap and the door.

“We try to have fun because [students] are always a lot more stressed out than they need to be as teenagers,” Louie said. “If we could do something where people could have a little bit of a laugh, a little bit of a release — at no one’s expense — then we’ll try to do something.”

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