Small California school’s student-athletes sell worms to pay for senior events

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally

Prep Rally isn't entirely sure why we love this story so much, but it's great. Maybe because it's small town high school culture at its best. Sell worms, rent a beach house. Smart. Simple. Special.

Students at California's little Big Pine High sell worms to pay for their senior trip -- L.A. Times
Students at California's little Big Pine High sell worms to pay for their senior trip -- L.A. Times

In a long-standing tradition, the senior class at little Big Pine (Calif.) High sells worms to fishermen flocking to Bishop and Mammoth Lakes for opening day of Inyo County's trout season. The ritual that has spanned five decades is chronicled in a great L.A. Times post.

What makes this custom even more spectacular is the fact that Big Pine's current senior class includes all of 12 students -- most of whom are student-athletes. How a school that houses only 36 students in all even fields sports teams is a matter for another post, but remarkable nonetheless.

Yet, Eric Sondheimer, who publishes the great Varsity Times Insider blog, quotes members of the school's softball squad and 8-man football team. Those teams require a quarter of the school's entire enrollment just to put enough athletes on the field.

Somehow, Big Pine's boys and girls hoops teams each recorded wins this winter. That, in itself, is an accomplishment. But this school's students are used to working as a team.

All 12 seniors will stand on Highway 395 in front of the school, which is located about 15 minutes from Mammoth Lakes, and sell buckets of 10 worms for $5.50 to passing trout fishermen at 6 a.m. on Friday morning, according to the L.A. Times piece.

The proceeds pay for a beach house on their senior trip to Oxnard, Calif., in addition to a graduation night at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Sondheimer said. Awesome and awesome.

One not-so-awesome note: The seniors once dug their own worms; now they order them, Big Pine senior advisor Tim Steele told the paper. We hate to sound all old fogey, but kids these days can't even dig up their own worms? Guess there's no app for that.

At least their "Got worms!" signs make up for it a bit. The students reportedly stand by the roadside until all the worms are gone, which sounds way worse than it probably is. Then, some of them even go fishing. Good times. Americana at its finest.

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