By Hannah Bensen, Current Staff
According to WBHS tradition, this time of year means milk cartons being dropped 50 feet from the roof of the auditorium.
This tradition was a project done for physics class. Students were required to construct a protective system in a milk carton that would keep an egg, which was placed inside, from breaking. They could use whatever materials they wanted, but many students opted to use packaging materials, such as Styrofoam peanuts. Other students got more creative, using jell-o, shampoo, or even tomato sauce.
But now, for the first time in over 30 years, the egg drop has been canceled.
This longstanding tradition was enjoyed by many generations of West Bend physics students.
“I’ve done it every year since I’ve started teaching, so 14 years,” said East physics teacher Richard Prost. “The teacher before me did it for 10 or 20 years. I remember doing it in high school.”
The project was a classic physics project, and a great way to apply what students had learned about motion and acceleration.
“It was a chance to get creative, [and] it tapped into a higher level of learning because there was no right way to do the project,” Prost said. “It also kind of served as a springboard for future units in which we talk about force, momentum, and collision. It was a good segue between what we’d started learning, and where we were headed.”
So why was the egg drop canceled?
The decision was made due to safety concerns by people at the district level, according to Prost.
“Technically, we’re not allowed to have any employees on top of the auditorium within 8 feet of the overhang,” Prost said. “I understand where they’re coming from, but at the same time, I thought there would be a way that we could somehow make it work.”
Many people are still confused as to why the egg drop was allowed for so many years, but now suddenly canceled. Principal Bill Greymont, who was not responsible for making the decision, said that he was unaware that this activity was canceled and that he himself had done a similar activity when he was in high school more than 30 years ago.
Prost said that he was informed by Tom Frigge, one of the district’s operations managers, that the event had to be discontinued. Frigge did not return repeated emails and calls for comment.
Anna Johnson, a current AP Physics student, was saddened by the decision. “I was super excited, because I was looking forward to the cliché egg drop that you see in the movies. I thought it was really cool. When it was canceled I was disappointed and kind of confused,” Johnson said.
“We have plenty of other things we’re gonna do, but that was one that a lot of students liked. A lot of students would come back and say they remembered doing it,” Prost said. “Unfortunately, the tradition has to come to an end.”
Update: In an email, teacher Richard Prost said that he received word Tuesday morning that the project has been reinstated. “Just got word from Mr. Neitzke that he disagrees and that we have the green light to do the project. Obviously now we have to wait until the weather warms up. Interesting how powerful even the student press can be!,” Prost said. Neitzke is the district’s superintendent.
(Photographs courtesy of Richard Prost, East science teacher.)