A prank to kick off Homecoming week and Halloween festivities at Pendleton High School in November 1981 was decidedly fishy. A puddle of water on a cover over the sidewalk stretching from the high school’s main building to the auditorium was turned into a fish pond by a group of PHS students, complete with a school of 50 goldfish. The walkway cover featured a flat roof with a turned-up edge that held a couple of inches of water after a good rain.
Four senior girls were rumored to be behind the escapade, though none of them would confess. A practical joke the year before, in which several students dismantled a sports car in the school’s library, netted the pranksters two weeks of floor-mopping duty, so the perpetrators were pleading the Fifth Amendment.
School publicist Michelle Frodenberg and friends Vita Merrick and Melissa Hoeft painted a “No Fishing” sign that was hung in the window overlooking the pond. The goldfish were surviving quite nicely on handouts of bread from passing students and dodging several red and white fishing bobbers floating near the edge of the pond. Senior Gary Green remarked, “They’ll be OK ‘til summer” as long as the pond didn’t dry up or freeze solid.
Principal Joe Canon said no calls to the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Department were planned.