Joe Gatto High School Anatomy Class, Joe Gatto (Comedian)

Fairfield High School teacher Amanda Martinez is pictured talking to Joe Gatto of “Impractical Jokers” on Zoom. Photos of her students are blocked for privacy. (Submitted photo)

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Students and teachers across the country have been adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on education, with schools using various methods of distance learning. Despite being separated for the last three months of the school year, one local teacher managed to bring a smile to her students’ faces this week when an “Impractical Joker” interrupted her class as they met via video conferencing.Amanda Martinez, a teacher at Fairfield High School, said that Joe Gatto joined her anatomy class Thursday on Zoom, much to the delight of the seniors and juniors she teaches. Gatto is one of the stars of “Impractical Jokers” on TruTV, a show in which “four comedians and lifelong friends compete to embarrass each other out amongst the general public with a series of hilarious and outrageous dares,” according to April 16, Gatto posted a form on his Twitter (
Joe_Gatto), inviting high school teachers to “enter for a chance to have Joe Gatto pop in to your Zoom class.” Two days later, he tweeted that they took the form down after receiving “over 1,000 entries in a day.”One of Martinez’s students saw the post and sent it her, encouraging her to sign up.“I didn’t know about it,” Martinez said. “A student sent me the link and said ‘our class really likes this show and it’d be cool if we got picked.’”Martinez said she doesn’t watch the show but filled out the application, which included information on when the class met and how many students were in the class. Within a week, she received word that the Fairfield students were finalists.“I got an email two days before that we were finalists and that if he was going to come, it would be about 20 minutes into class,” Martinez. “I think it was his agent who came in and made sure everything was set and running, and he came in five minutes later.” When Gatto joined the class, Martinez said some of the students didn’t believe it, thinking it was “just a picture or a green screen.”“Then he started talking, calling the kids by name, asking them about stuff in the background,” Martinez said.

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“They knew he was really there, and they all started freaking out.“Some of the kids, you could tell they were on a tablet, and they started running to show the rest of their family, running through the house. That was funny.” Martinez said Gatto spoke to the students for about five minutes, interacting with students and sharing a positive message. “He was kind of inspirational,” Martinez said. “He talked about how it was a hard time for everyone, and he was hoping to make it fun or memorable when class wasn’t as normal. He was really nice and fun.”The class is predominantly seniors, with two juniors, Martinez said. She was happy to have an opportunity to cheer the upperclassmen up and give them another fun high school memory.“It’s mostly seniors, and they’ve been sad,” Martinez said. “This weekend would’ve been prom, and they’re worried about graduation and what that’s going to be like and all that kind of stuff. I thought it would be something positive and fun for them.”

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