OFFBEAT: Student writes “rise,” “subvert” messages

Julia Aizuss

The third time wasn’t quite the charm for Teddy Leinbach ’15 when his latest exploit with chalk on the upper school campus resulted in a week’s worth of detention.

He first struck with a few monograms drawn on the walls before winter break, when he figured he might as well use the piece of chalk he had accidentally taken from an English classroom.

By February, Leinbach had brought his own bucket of chalk to his locker, so when Poetry Week came, he decided to create a “Poetry Wall” on the wall between the Seaver stairs on the quad.

The idea caught the interest of other students, and several lines of poetry were soon scribbled with Leinbach’s chalk onto the walls — as well as a couple racist hashtags and obscene pictures, which Leinbach erased himself.

Then, a couple weeks ago, Leinbach got bored during a free period, asked Ethan Gruman ’15 to lie down in the middle of the quad and used his chalk to trace the outline of Gruman’s body on the ground.

As a final touch, he wrote “subvert” inside the drawing.

Why that word? “I honestly don’t know,” Leinbach said.

But, he figured, why stop there? He paired “subvert” with “rise,” and then he kept going, deciding to hit every bench on campus with the pair of words.

“Trying to have a revolution, are we?” Leinbach recalled history teacher Dror Yaron saying as Leinbach wrote on the benches near the second floor of Seaver. “I’m not sure it’s going to work. There are some pretty satisfied kids here.”

Still, Leinbach said he enjoyed just sitting back and watching as students unknowingly sat down on the chalk-covered benches or complimented him on his work.

By that point, many students knew he was responsible for anything chalk-related, he said.

But once a maintenance worker noticed the exhortations around campus, the jig was up. This week, Leinbach has been saddled with a week’s worth of detention cleaning up around campus from Attendance Coordinator Gabe Preciado.

“There aren’t going to be anymore because obviously I got a detention for it,” Leinbach said. “Eh. Whatever. Suffering for your art, all that jazz.”