‘Bet you can’t truck with us’: Portsmouth schools engaged in a sign war


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY)– Words can sometimes be used as weapons. In Portsmouth, there is a war of words happening among the city’s schools. It started a couple weeks ago and has spread throughout the district, but don’t worry, it’s all in good fun.

It started when Churchland High School Principal Shawn Millaci used the school’s marquee to call out Churchland Middle School across the street. The sign read: “Hey CHMS wanna start a sign war. Bet you can’t truck with us.”

“I know Paul across the street is all about good fun,” Millaci told WAVY.

He’s referring to Paul Wilson, Principal at Churchland Middle School, who slapped back with a sign that said: “Hey CHS that was pretty clever said no trucker ever.”

Wilson said, “It’s a lot of great fun, especially in a moment that’s been very stressful for a lot of people.”

Now, schools across the district are calling out each other’s mascots, using song lyrics and even nursery rhymes.

“The principals here in our district are very competitive. They like to have a good time,” Millaci said.

The trash talk is catching the eyes of students, staff and passersby, providing a much needed break from pandemic life.

“It’s showing our students that we can be resilient. We’re finding another way,” said Millaci.

He said even schools without marquees are jumping in online. “Everybody’s engaged. Our students are sending messages on Instagram. A lot of our staff has jumped in and our parents. It’s just been good fun.”

The last Facebook post had over 600 shares and Wilson said their friend requests are booming. “To have our Superintendent and Chief of Schools chiming in and giving the laugh emoji and all that good stuff, it’s been great to know we’re supported.”

This war is actually bringing folks together but, how long can they keep it up?

Wilson said, “Look, I’m in this for as long as Mr. Millaci is in this, which is to say we can make it through the end of the school year I believe.”

So keep your eyes open because you never know what creative quip you’ll see tomorrow.

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