When freshmen Jay Habre, Tom McDonald and Brendon Mulvihill see a fork, they have a story to tell. Habre, McDonald, Mulvihill and 50 students from North Penn High School in Lansdale, Pa., strategically placed close to 35,000 plastic forks into the lawn on school grounds on June 6.
The now legendary senior prank has landed them a spot on MTV’s show, “High School Stories: Scandals, Pranks, and Controversies.” The show, set to air sometime in the coming weeks, includes a 13-minute re-enactment of the prank exactly as it was performed.
“We had the reputation (in high school) of being the ‘pranksters,’ the ‘crazy gentlemen,'” McDonald said.
The idea for the prank began with the North Penn High School class of 2003. McDonald said the class didn’t follow through with the idea, so it was up to the class of 2004 to succeed where their predecessors had failed.
“So we said, we’re going to do this (the prank) right,” McDonald said. “Over the course of the next year, we slowly gathered a team of about 50 men ready to go.”
It took the entire school year to plan, organize and gather the necessary amount of forks. The boys, in order to save money, took creative approaches when it came to obtaining the forks.
“I would call local businesses and say, ‘Hey, I’m an Eagle Scout, I’m trying to get forks for this awesome arts and crafts project. Can you give me some forks?’ And they gave me like 10,000,” McDonald said.
About 10 percent of the forks were stolen from their school’s cafeteria. The seniors, along with help from underclassmen, took a handful of plastic forks during each lunch period, used one, and stashed the others.
News of the prank quickly spread through the school, and the “senior prank” evolved into a “school prank.”
“We hadn’t had a senior prank for a good four years,” McDonald said. “So we invited the various classes to help out, the pranksters from other classes.”
On the night of June 6, more than 50 students in dark clothing and masks infiltrated school grounds like a well-fueled army. Many carried duffel bags full of plastic forks while others were armed with 7-foot-tall forks to place in the ground for the “full fork” effect.
At 3 a.m., when 33,000 forks were placed into the ground, a student pulled sharply out of the school parking lot with his car, making a loud screeching noise that attracted the attention of neighbors.
“Six minutes later, the cops came by and everyone ran like crazy,” McDonald said.
Although it was disappointing that the prank was interrupted only 2,000 plastic forks short of completion, Mulvihill pointed out that if it weren’t for the police, MTV would never have known of the prank. Thanks to the police’s interference, news of the prank’s success landed on not only the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer, but also onto the Associated Press’s Wire Services and a number of other news sources, including radio stations and college humor Web sites. The men were also contacted by an MTV producer.
“Apparently they (MTV) called every McDonald in the phone book,” McDonald said.
Although their television debut is sure to bring them fame, Habre, McDonald and Mulvihill aren’t looking to be the same pranksters in college that they were in high school.
“We realize we’re going to have to calm down because school is important,” Mulvihill admitted. “We have to give up a bit of our pranking.”
But the potential for decorating lawns with plastic forks, or “forking,” exists at Temple.
“If it were Temple, we would do the area between Anderson and Gladfelter, because it’s not visible from the street with cop cars going by,” McDonald joked.
But the arrival of the “forkers” at Temple wasn’t planned. Each crazy gentleman applied to Temple, but didn’t discuss his college plans with the others.
Mulvihill said they didn’t bother asking each other where they were going to attend school.
“We had better things to talk about (than colleges),” McDonald said.
“Like forking,” Mulvihill added.
Sammy Davis can be reached at S.Davis@temple.edu.