(CNN) -- Think back to your high school's senior prank. Maybe you and your pals slipped a pig into the building or greased all the door handles or turned all the chairs upside-down.
So it's no surprise that Wichita high school Principal Sherman Padgett was reluctant to play along last week when a student showed up and told him to stand in the hallway holding a bucket.
"She didn't say anything about why. She just said 'hold the bucket,' " the North High School principal told CNN affiliate KWCH. "I'm not going to hold the bucket unless I have a little inkling of why it could be."
Good thing he changed his mind.
Once he did, student after student streamed by, dropping notes of praise and thanks into the bucket.
"Thank you for making high school the best years of my life," one said.
"You've made my first year experience in America one that I will always fondly remember," read another.
One student recalled how Padgett "helped me get through my eating disorder and helped me get into therapy."
The notes were the idea of senior Emily Jones. She decided she wanted to do something nice for the principal and cooked up the plan with her mother.
"Padgett's an awesome principal," she said.
For Padgett, who has been principal at North since 2006, the experience was priceless.
"Became a little emotional on some of them," he said, "I kind of read them and thought, 'man, this is better than a paycheck. This is why I do the things that I do.' "