#thatjusthappened is a new weekly feature of the Husky Press where we feature a short, funny, often bizarre situation that unfolded at school, as witnessed by one of our reporters. This week, Logan Haller (10) regales us with an account of debate practice gone awry…
Monday, December 2, saw yet another episode of after school shenanigans between Ryan Olsen (10) and social studies teacher Chris Stewart. During an after-school NLA debate team practice the team’s coach, English teacher Tom Lutes, was trying adamantly (but failing tremendously) to tutor the debate team when Stewart came into the commons to show everyone a poster he had received from the Forest Lake Business Association (FLBA).
Apparently, the school received the poster because the FLBA thought NLA was part of the public school district, which promoted it. Said poster claimed to have all the essential things an adolescent needed to know to survive high school. On the poster, there was information on many topics: math equations, the fifty states and their capitals, and, strangely, the side effects of crack cocaine.
“I found it comical because of the juxtaposition and how it was phrased on the poster,” Stewart said. The side effects of the illegal substance were phrased as though they were the warning label on an ibuprofen bottle (i.e. “This product may cause heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, etc.). This, on an educational poster for teenagers, promoted by the school district.
The stage set, Stewart left the debate team in hysteria and Lutes in a conniption, his seemingly productive practice foiled.
Enter Olsen about 5 minutes later, doing his job as a part-time custodian. His appearance set Lutes on edge because Olsen has a history of taunting Lutes with the vacuum during practice. He will obnoxiously vacuum underneath Lutes’ chair and those of the rest of the team until Lutes either moves or shouts at him. Usually, this is great entertainment for the team. It also typically lasts a good, long while.
Of course, this time Olsen doesn’t tease Lutes because he knows that Lutes is ready for him and goes about his business. Meanwhile, the debate team has finally engaged in researching its topic (except for Ashley Millerbernd (10), who was playing Solitaire). It was about that time that Olsen and Stewart came to the conclusion that they needed to light the Christmas wreath hanging in Stewart’s window.
They carried the wreath into the commons and began awkwardly wrapping it, Olsen standing with the wreath in his hands and Stewart trying to wrap the lights around his arms and onto the wreath. This failed to be the elegant holiday adornment procedure they obviously envisioned it to be and ended up just being a loud tangled mess. It was at this point that Millerbernd, no longer interested in Solitaire, either, decided to help. Because it takes three people to hang one wreath.
Practice ensued with little complaint after that, until Olsen returned from the wreath-hanging and decided to army crawl underneath the black chairs in the commons. He states that he had no particular motivation for this, other than that he thought it would be funny. Stewart, being, well, Stewart, acted on a similar impulse and shoved several of the black chairs together to lengthen the “Army-Crawling-Obstacle.”
After Olsen reached the end of the chairs, he refused to come out from underneath them. Stewart decided that he needed some extrinsic motivation, which he provided by leaping up on to one of the chairs, intending to jump on it until Olsen came out.
Until this moment, the debate team had been working on their cases, effectively tuning out the bizarre shenanigans in the background. The loud, rhythmic thumping sound, however, was impossible to tune out. So was Stewart jumping on a chair, waving his arms about, and yelling at Olsen to come out.
A logical first question would have been “Why are you doing that?” Of course, this is NLA, so that wasn’t it.
“If you were a student, what would you say right now?” I asked Stewart.
Having decided that Olsen was not moving, Stewart disembarked from the chair and considered the question.
“I would tell you to knock it off,” he said, “However, I’m a teacher. I was providing healthy encouragement.”
Eventually, all the chairs were put back in their places, Stewart went back to his room, the debate team packed up, and Olsen got up off the floor; the only evidence of the shenanigans was that the left side of his face had the impression of the carpet on it.
A few days later, one of the black chairs broke. Stewart would like to emphasize that he is not responsible for that. That happened because Travis Fish (10) was horsing around with it. But that’s another story.