Torre VS Mawhinney by: Savanna Thomas
Ninja stars, Nerf guns, and power tools were all components of one of the most legendary rivalries at Rancho.
Roughly ten years ago, this classic battle of the sexes all began with the lust to win the canned food drive.
What started as innocent flyers and propaganda between teachers, Ken Torre and Dawn Mawhinney (and their shared students), whirled out of control and became the most well known prank-war that Rancho has ever seen. Both Torre and Mawhinney agree it started with arrogance, but whose arrogance it was still remains a question.
Torre claims, “It was Mawhinney wanting to knock me down a peg because I’m so arrogant.”
When asked Mawhinney said, “It was the fact that I’m a better person and he needed to realize how self important he was and needed to check that.”
Torre and Mawhinney, both headstrong and stubborn teachers, weren’t going to let anything or anyone stand in their way of being the best.
In their own “perceived rivalry” as Torre calls it, the two teachers fought to win the canned food drive and claim ultimate superiority, and gain their students loyalty. The canned food drive of December 1999 is when it all started.
Torre and Mawhinney’s shared students campaigned for their teachers by making humorous flyers supporting their favored teacher. The competition kept relatively on the DL for the most part throughout the following years. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 2007 school year when things started to heat up and one competitor decided to strike.
In 2007 Mawhinney’s second period AP Economy class started the creative prank war by coming through the unoccupied class (N16) connecting to Torre’s second period AP Statistics class, and ambushing them with paper ninja stars. Minutes later, stunned, Torre’s AP Statistics class retaliated with the only thing they had at the time…left over water balloons from the senior picnic.
Since the irretaliation attack was sudden and unplanned, they decided to stragitize and go under cover for their next ambush, thus catching Mawhinney and her class off gaurd.
The following Monday, dressed in camouflage and armed with Nerf guns, Torre with his iron man ten-shot automatic and the rest of his class [with their own weapons], attacked Mawhinney’s AP Econ class. Enraged Mawhinney’s students chased them out of their classroom, but Torre and his class stayed persistent and snuck around the side of the classroom and proceeded to attack numerous times until they were out of ammo [Nerf darts]. In an act of desperation, Mawhinney’s class collected all the darts to prevent anymore fire. They kept the attackers ammo until Torre and his class agreed to a truce.
After the surrender, one compedior decided to take it up a notch. Mawhinney and her students were planning their next attack precisely, down to every little detail, leaving Torre and his students stupified.
All pranks ceased and the school remained quiet for about six months. It wasn’t until out of nowhere Mawhinney are her class retaliated with the most elaborate prank yet. It took four hours, numerous power tools, and anal precision but Mawhinney and her class switched Torre’s whole room (N15) piece by piece to the connecting room (N16) on the opposite side of the Math and Science building. Disappointingly, Torre decided not to retaliate for questionable reasons.
As the pranks died down, Mr. Decker and his band class did what they could to show support and lend a helping hand.
In 2008 as a show of support for Torre as well as the canned food drive, Mr. Decker’s band greeted Torre in his usual parking space and followed him all the way to his class playing, “Hail To The Chief” (the song played when the president of the U.S. walks into a room)
The prank that concluded their feud was in the beginning of 2008 when Mawhinney and her class saran wrapped a huge stuffed whale to Torre’s “baby,” his beloved 2002 red Ford Mustang.
“Deep down its clear Mawhinney wants to be me and is resentful that she is not.” Was all that Torre had to say after the incident occured. It took him a long time to make sure he got the saran wrap off without scratching or hurting his prized car in any way.
The pranks between Torre and Mawhinney have ceased to exist, but the story of their legendary prank war will always stay alive in the talk of the students at Rancho.
After years of bickering and trying to sabotage each other the 2009 canned food drive has caused rival teachers Torre and Mawhinney to work together in cooperation. In comparison to prior years there were not as many “smear campaigns” as Torre calls them and there was less drive to be the best.
This year the canned food drive was judged by grade level. The class [freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior] that collects the largest amount of pounds of cans, wins. Will this new rule cause the rivalry between Ken Torre and Dawn Mawhinney to cease to exist as we know it? Or will it create a whole new school wide epidemic?
When asked, Torre replied with a classic “Torre” comment, “Maybe the team approach will broaden the canned food drive to a school wide event like it used to be. That would be good since there is no ‘I in team’ but there is two in ‘I Win’.”
“I think its better emphasis is on the students rather than Torre and I,” said Mawhinney, coinciding with Torre’s statement. Both Torre’s and Mawhinney’s statements supported the students and the whole school getting more involved with the canned food drive rather than it being just two teachers rivaling to be the best.
If the whole school were to get involved in a cooperative manner and all contributed it could even raise the intake of the entire drive, feeding more families than ever before.
If every student brought in at least two cans each the school would provide enough food for about a family per each student.
There used to be a huge rivalry with Montgomery High to be the best school as a whole. If Rancho was to become more unified we might be able to bring back that competition instead of fighting amongst ourselves.
It seems that it may be time to step up and get the whole school more involved in the canned food drive this year, and continue supporting our community. Although the feud between Torre and Mawhinney may be ending, the legend will live on forever and hopefully someday, someone will continue where they left off.