MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As graduation nears, high school seniors often have a tradition of an end of the year prank.
Mound Westonka is no different, but this year, the Class of 2015 took a different approach -- instead of a practical joke, they decided to honor the retiring principal and all the school staff.
Mound Westonka High School has a tradition where seniors leave behind their legacy. The sum of their final year in school is embodied in a mural that hangs in the hallway.
"They'll just try to kind of capture what their class was, kind of capture the meaning behind it and take a theme or idea," said Marty Fischer, assistant principal at MWHS. "They can come back and kind of still feel connected to the school."
This year's graduates wanted to make an impression that couldn't be captured in a 4 foot by 8 foot mural, so they took to post-it notes.
"You can only remember a picture for so long," said Karlie Wagner, a graduating senior at MWHS.
In a coordinated move, every senior left class Friday morning at 10 and converged on the school office.
Thinking the disruption was the annual senior prank, staff didn't know what the students had planned.
"We haven't had destructive pranks but certainly disruptive. It's been escalating a little bit, not where the prank escalates, but the number of things happen over a two week period," Fischer said.
Staff were surprised to see the students turn a prank into a pay-it-forward act. Each piece of paper had a message of gratitude.
"I saw a school who did something similar like this for their principal. I thought that's a cool idea. We should do something like this for our principal since he's retiring," said Siena Boser, a graduating senior.
The majority of the notes were written for longtime principal Keith Randklev who's retiring this year.
"It moved me. It was touching to me. As I shared with them, it's a memory that stays with me forever," said Principal Keith Randklev.
But in the mix of colorful credit, there was a lot of appreciation to go around.
"I thanked our janitors and I thanked our office staff because they're usually the ones who aren't as recognized throughout the school," Wagner said.
Seniors weren't the only ones to contribute. Underclassmen soon followed suit and the notes grew to represent the feelings of an entire school.
"I haven't had that feeling of pride in a particular group of students in my recent memory," Fischer said.
The post-it appreciation won't have a permanent place in the walls of Mound Westonka but the class of 2015 may be remembered for the start of a new tradition.
"It was very special and I'm hopeful that we will see that continue," Randklev said.
Boser said it wasn't hard to convince her fellow seniors to skip the traditional prank for something more positive.
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