Who Let The Ducks Out?


Syra Lundergan

Goose (left) and Mulch (right) enjoying an afternoon swim.

Syra Lundergan, Writer

On the morning of Sept. 29, two baby ducklings were brought into Ag teacher Jayna Thompson’s room right before first block. Needless to say, most of the Central Hardin faculty, staff, and students were confused. Rumors filtered through the hallways of who, what, when, where, or why these ducks waddled into our school building.

It all dates back to the rivalry amongst two members of the Central Hardin Cross Country team. Seniors Caroline Mann and Ethan Gardner made attempts to possess a plastic pink flamingo for an extended amount of time before the other party stole it back. The flamingo, who is also coincidentally named Caroline, originated from a “pink out” race in 2021.

In this rivalry, two rules stand. One: It had to remain in their cars, and Two: Neither party could use help from outside sources.

On the night of Sept. 28, rule two was breached. While attending the girls’ senior night soccer game, Mann and other teammates made the decision to take the risk of obtaining the flamingo outside of practice.

On the way to Gardner’s house, Mann recalled that he also has possession of another bird species: chickens. The immediate idea was to hop in the pen and snap a picture with them, alluding that the flamingo wasn’t the only bird to be stolen that night, but Gardner’s family was called for permission first. Although she was met with a prompt “no”, that did not necessarily mean defeat, especially considering that Rural King happened to be on the way.

Inside, the realization quickly rose that it was in fact not chicken season. Rural King did however, house ducklings; very, very cute ones at that. Like any rational teenagers, two of them were purchased on the spot. Everyone needs a home and a friend. That’s what they say, right?

“When Syra and Caroline called me and said that they bought ducks, I didn’t believe them. I laughed. We giggled for a long time about the fact that they had ducks in their car,” cross-country coach Samantha Dale recalled.

Back on the road heading towards Gardner, the original target was reached. Caroline, the flamingo, was retrieved (lock your cars guys), and the route back to the soccer fields was assumed. When Gardner found out about Mann’s endeavors that night he was left with feelings of betrayal and treachery.

There were nearly 15 minutes left in the second half upon the ducklings’ arrival. It is safe to say that many of the soccer fans were shocked that night.

“I was flabbergasted to hear chirps on the sideline of a girls soccer game in 40 degree weather,” junior Jaxon Kist expressed.

“I was baffled. I was very surprised that living animals had shown up. When Syra and Caroline had left, I was not expecting them to come back with ducks at all,” senior Mara Green revealed.

The ducklings went home with Mann that evening.

Circling back to the following school day, the ducklings were first brought into science teacher Jonathan Fairbanks’ room around 7:30 am.

“Man you guys are quacking me up this morning, I tell you what; here bringing ducks into the school,” Fairbanks joked.

It was in that time frame that the recommendation to drop the birds off in an agriculture room was given to ensure the least amount of disruption proceeding into the school day. From there forward, the ducklings, still unnamed, went into Thompson’s room. She was unavailable for comment.

The ducklings later traveled to the Hardin County Fairgrounds for cross-country practice after the school day had ended. They were welcomed by the team and officially named Goose and Mulch.

I, Syra Lundergan, took them home that night and proceeded to care for them over fall break while Mann went on vacation. To whom it may concern, Goose and Mulch are still alive, and back at the Mann household growing more and more each day. See picture for proof of life.