Giles graduate gives class something to remember
Jake Munsey, a recent Giles High School graduate, had been living a double life throughout his entire senior year.
That was until he revealed his identity to the entire school during Saturday’s graduation ceremony.
Throughout the 2011-12 school year, Giles High was dealing with an infestation of yellow rubber ducks. No one seemed to know where the ducks were coming from or how the ducks got there.
But Munsey, the student body president, knew something that no one else knew.
An entire school year of secrecy, undercover missions and rumors all came to an end with the simple gesture of Munsey giving Principal Jason Mills a rubber duck while receiving his diploma.
Munsey, 17, had been planning his senior prank since he was a sophomore at Giles. With the help of his father, Colin, Munsey wanted to think of something that had never been done before.
“Originality was the difficult part,” Munsey said. “Many pranks have been publicized, but copying someone else’s work is not my style.”
Munsey said he and his father wanted to think of something that would never be repeated.
That’s when his father thought of placing ducks in various locations around the school and leaving anonymous letters for teachers, faculty and staff.
That’s when Munsey became the “Duck Master.”
Munsey wanted to ensure his prank wouldn’t offend or hurt anyone and discussed the legality of the prank with his father. Other than occasional help from his father and friend Chris Collins — code-named “Cousin Goose” — Munsey acted alone.
It all began around the first day of school, Munsey said. The first duck, along with a letter, was sent to Mills explaining how the “game” would go. Since the first duck, Munsey estimates that more than 300 ducks were placed around the school throughout the year. Munsey estimated a total cost of $350.
One of Munsey’s many duck-related pranks happened during homecoming, when he placed eight ducks on the football goal posts and the ducks remained there for the entirety of the game.
Another time — and perhaps Munsey’s biggest prank — occurred after hours.
Munsey said he and Cousin Goose snuck into the school and placed 100 ducks in various locations. More letters were distributed. This time, the letters were slipped under each teacher’s door promising one teacher a day of paid vacation if they could collect more ducks than all the other teachers.
“We had a snow day Monday which initially seemed to make the prank a failure,” Munsey said. “I later found out a history teacher came in to do lesson plans on Sunday and bagged around 40 ducks.”
No word on whether the teacher will receive a day of paid vacation.
It was the letters, such as the one left after the “midnight raid,” that showcased Munsey’s genius.
“Whether they were to mislead or direct, my letters helped to keep me anonymous,” Munsey said. “The letters made it more personal and helped make [Mills] know that it was all about him.”
But remaining anonymous for the entire school year was the key, Munsey said.
“The goofy ‘Duck Master’ name was my own doing, and I had to sign my letters,” Munsey said.
“Bruce Wayne is Batman, Clark Kent is Superman, Hal Jordan is Green Lantern and Jake Munsey is the Duck Master.”
Although Munsey believes he was pretty good at staying anonymous, he later found out several teachers knew who the Duck Master was. Munsey said Mills even claims to have known it was him.
But that never ruffled the feathers of the Duck Master.
Munsey plans to attend Concord University in the fall but will first spend his third summer in a row as a lifeguard at the Pearisburg Town Pool.
Don’t be surprised to hear reports about yellow rubber ducks in the town’s pool this summer.
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627