Dana Middle School 6th Graders Appear on Nickelodeon’s ‘The Substitute’


Amanda Chang, Staff Writer

If you’ve watched Nickelodeon recently, you might have noticed that they air a show called The Substitute.

“In this new hidden camera prank show, celebrities are transformed by a team of special effects artists to go undercover as substitute teachers to surprise a class of unsuspecting students,” described Nickelodeon’s website.

A few of the celebrities who have starred on the show include: John Cena, Asher Angel, JoJo Siwa, and recently, Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim. Kim appeared in the second episode of the show’s second season and was “transformed” into three different substitutes to teach at Arcadia’s very own Dana Middle School (DMS). According to some students attending DMS, the students who appeared in the show were all sixth graders.

After she dressed up to play her first role, she met with Dr. Hacking, DMS’ principal, in what appeared to be the school’s music room. Hacking proceeded to inform Kim about some of the kids in her first class, including their names and a description of their personalities. Hacking would do so every time Kim was to teach a new class.

The classes were held outside near DMS’ track and only about 10-12 students attended each class, sitting in desks that were spaced out. This setup was most likely due to the fact that the episode was filmed during the pandemic, whereas episodes from the first season of the show appeared to be filmed prior to it and featured larger classes of students indoors.

The first character she played was of a hairstylist that Kim introduced as “Traci with an ‘i’.” According to Kim, the hairstylist she played styles “Hollywood celebrities’ distant relatives,” and gave examples like Will Smith’s neighbor’s cousin and Lady Gaga’s sister-in-law. 

Her students were then instructed to get a bust-like mannequin and get acquainted with their new “clients”. The rest of the class was—to most students—quite unusual, and included wearing trash bags, dying wigs, and screaming at the mannequins. During class, Kim knocked over the styled wig for Lady Gaga’s sister-in-law, so she strutted away from the class after taking the wigs that the students styled and dyed.

Her second act was a “homesteader” named Susana Omega, who was to teach a home economics class about pickling. The class she taught looked quite disgusted when Kim told them that anything could be pickled, including pig’s feet, eggs, and scrunchies. After giving each student an onion to pickle, she gave no instructions and instead revealed that she gives TED talks by talking “to a guy named Ted.” Kim also lectured the class about composting and introduced them to a worm named Billy. The class went awry when her bag full of compost ripped and spilled all of its contents onto her other pickled items. She ended class by munching on a compost-covered pickle and strutted away with the jar of pickled scrunchies in her arms.

Her final character was an English literature substitute, who had been playing a game of hot lava for 11 years with her sister, the latter of whom could activate the game at any given time using a walkie-talkie. Kim, whose character could not avoid the game, instructed her students to place their books and other items on the floor so she could play. At one point, she even made a student retrieve a pizza box from the trash can for her to use. She motivated her students to help her win by telling them that the prize of the game was worth $2,000 and that they could get some of the prize money if she won. However, she lost within the last couple seconds of the game and wrapped up class by ordering the students to finish reading their books, which they had never even started during the period.

Towards the end of the episode, Dr. Hacking announced to the students that their crazy substitutes would be explained, gesturing to a TV set. The host of the show, Juanpa Zurita, surprised the students by telling them that Chloe Kim had been their substitute, earning tons of shouts and applause from the kids. Kim stepped out from behind a wall of curtains and awarded DMS with $25,000 on behalf of Nickelodeon.

“Distance learning has been really hard, but today it made my day because I got to meet a celebrity,” student Bella said at the end of the episode. “Today was the best day I’ve ever had in a long time.” 


Photo courtesy of TVSERIESFINALE.COM