Saturday, September 01, 2007

Student tricks rival fans into raising cards that spell "We Suck''

Student tricks rival fans into raising cards that spell "We Suck''

Student tricks rival fans into raising cards that spell "We Suck''

HILLIARD, Ohio — A high school student who tricked football fans from a crosstown rival school into holding up squares of construction paper at a stadium that together spelled out, "We Suck,'' was suspended for the prank, students said.

Kyle Garchar, a senior at Hilliard Davidson High School in suburban Columbus, said he spent about 20 hours over three days plotting the trick, which was captured on video and posted on the video-sharing Web site YouTube.

Garchar said he was inspired by a similar prank pulled by Yale students in 2004, when Harvard fans were duped into holding up cards with the same message.

At the end of the video, Garchar wryly thanks the 800 parents, staff and alumni from Hillard Darby High School who raised the cards at the start of the third quarter during last Friday's game played at Crew Stadium, home of Columbus' Major League Soccer team.

"It couldn't have been done without you,'' reads the closing frame of the video, which had been viewed more than 4,400 times by Thursday.

Garchar, 17, first went to Crew Stadium to take a picture of the seats. Then he created a grid to plan how the message would be spelled out once fans in three sections held up either a black or white piece of construction paper.

Directions left on stadium seats instructed fans to check that the number listed on their papers matched their seat numbers. Darby supporters were told the message would read "Go Darby.''

"It was tedious,'' Garchar said. "I didn't really think it was going to work.''

But it did, and everyone at Hilliard Davidson has been talking about the trick, said Jordan Moore, a junior.

"That was the ultimate in-your-face,'' he said. "I think it was ingenious.''

Davidson Principal John Bandow had told students he expected them to show sportsmanship at Friday's football game, which Darby won 21-10 in the first meeting between the two schools.

Bandow called Garchar to his office Monday morning, and gave him three days of in-school suspension and also banned him from participating in school activities for a semester, students said. Two other students who helped organize the trick received the same punishment.

Hilliard schools spokeswoman Michelle Wray couldn't confirm the students' punishment today because the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act forbids the release of student disciplinary information.

But Jen Trimmer, 17, one of the students involved in the prank, said the suspensions for the three students began Wednesday and were to end Friday.

"We weren't expecting it to be such a severe punishment,'' she said today. "We just thought it was all in good fun.''

Stephen Bell, a Darby freshman, was at the stadium but missed the big moment.

"It was sneaky, knifing and down right clever,'' he said Wednesday. "But we'll get them back.''

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