Squirrels take over as Barrington continues remote-learning

Winston Munck, a loose squirrel in the East 300 wing, crawled through a hole in history teacher Dr. Jose Santamaria’s classroom according to popular theory. Teachers have spotted him multiple times in the hallways through November.
Dr. Santamaria first heard Winston Munck in his classroom’s ceiling tiles.

“I thought that it was the wind, and it was hitting the windows, or the blinds were hitting the windows. But, then the classes started, and I didn’t pay attention,” Santamaria said.

A few days later, Santamaria reported seeing no wind, but he could hear Munck scurrying above in the ceiling panels.

“I was here all by myself. It was early, like 6:30 or 6:35, and I was looking to hear where the noise was coming from. It sounded like it nailed as he was running to another corner,” Santamaria said.

Santamaria started hitting the ceiling with a yardstick, hoping to urge the squirrel out. He saw the squirrel’s tail and later brought it up with his first-hour class, who named him Winston. Santamaria added “Munck.” Word spread when Santamaria, on a hot day, jokingly sent an email from Munck’s point of view to the school’s staff, asking to lower the thermostat.

“I got a bunch of responses from teachers saying ‘Oh, I saw Winston too!’ Now, everybody is calling him by his name, which makes me really happy,” Santamaria said.

Munck continues to make his presence known. English teachers Katherine Filosa and Moira Quealy encountered him again.

“The first time I saw [Winston], it would have been the morning of November 2nd. I was walking from the English office to my classroom, on a Monday morning because I’m always here very early. I saw a creature just sitting on top of a water fountain, and I kind of stopped and stared at it before it leaped, and I got to see the bushy tail and realize that it was a squirrel sprinting around the corner,” Filosa said.

Filosa reported the sighting to the English department. Two weeks later, both Filosa and Quealy spotted Munck.
“Winston Munck first appeared to me as I was entering the school, at approximately 7:45 a.m. I had just come up the stairwell– I said hello to Ms. Filosa– turned the corner, and Winston was scurrying towards me as if to say ‘I’m on my way to a very important meeting, but hello coworker,’ and then he just kept going, like I was not a threat or a person– or that he thought he was a person instead,” Quealy said.

How Munck got into the school is unknown, but multiple staff members, including Santamaria, believe that he came through a hole in a classroom wall.

Rumors are also spreading about another squirrel Eleanor. While Eleanor’s whereabouts are unknown, it is believed she is located in the high school.

“I think there’s something going on there. [Winston] had prepared a nice nest up there in the corner, using the insulation from the ceiling. One time, I heard the two of them. While I was hitting on the ceiling with the yardstick, I heard the other one coming,” Dr. Santamaria said.

The school has still not caught Munck.

“A week ago, the first time I saw him in the hallway, I heard that there were teachers closing the doors because he was roaming the hallways all over the school. I don’t know if that’s true or rumors,” Santamaria said, “But he’s not scared of anybody.”