Wylde Q. Chicken Award Frequently Asked Questions
Updated May 19, 2016

University Laboratory High School

Is this for real?
Yep, it’s for real. It is backed by a $14,000 endowment, enough to fund this annual award in perpetuity.
What's the award for?
It’s to recognize Uni High students who exhibit spontaneous creativity. Unbidden originality. Thinking outside the box. Coloring outside the lines of the coloring book. The nontraditional, the unconventional, the unexpected. Extraordinary acts in ordinary circumstances.
Who’s behind this?
The Class of 1972, a fairly typical Uni High assortment of misfits, eccentrics, and mad geniuses.
How often is the award presented?
Didn’t we just say it’s annual?

It is presented at the Uni awards ceremony at the end of each school year.

Who is eligible?
Any organism of the species Homo sapiens sapiens who is enrolled as a student at Uni for any part of the school year.
Who can submit nominations?
Any member of the Uni student body, faculty, or staff can submit nominations. Students can even nominate themselves. Don't be shy!
What do winners get?
There’s a cash prize of $250 (or more, as you’ll soon see.)

That’s not all: Winners have their names engraved on a plaque permanently on display in the school. They also receive a coveted Wylde Q. Chicken t-shirt, and an attractive certificate of Wyldeness, suitable for framing. The certificate features state-of-the-art Blank Back Side (BBS) technology, leaving a full 50% of its surface area available for any use your imagination might devise.

Does it have to be a single individual? What if a group of students collaborate on something?
Any bunch of eligible individuals can be nominated as a group. If a group wins the award, the judges may decide to bump up the cash prize accordingly, to $300, $350, maybe as much as $400 to be split among the group.
Does it have to be for something wacky, funny, or zany?
No. Just because we made fools of ourselves on a regular basis doesn’t mean that you have to.
Can it be for something that fulfills a school assignment, or does it have to be completely spontaneous?
The more spontaneous, the better. But we’re not going to arbitrarily restrict what kinds of activities qualify because, after all, we’re looking for people to do things we never would have thought of.
So are there no limits? Does anything go?
Almost! But we won’t reward anything harmful, hateful, hurtful, destructive, illegal, or excessively dangerous to life and limb.
Come on. Are you telling me YOU never did anything like that?
Ummm... We'll have to plead the fifth.

The point is, we’d like to encourage acts of creativity that will not only be fun at the time, but will still be good memories after you’ve matured into responsible, upstanding citizens like we now pretend to be. We don’t want to encourage things that will make you cringe when you remember them 25 years hence.

Who has won in the past, and what have they done to deserve it?
Look here to find out.
How do I submit a nomination?
We have a handy nomination form you can use if you like. Fill it out online and email it, or print it and fill it out by hand.

Submit nominations to advancement director Marianne Downey (downey1@illinois.edu). You can leave documentation in her mailbox in the main office.

What should a nomination include?
The essential items are:
  • Your name and position at the school (student, teacher, elevator operator, etc.)
  • Full name(s) of the student(s) you are nominating, and their class year(s).
  • Description of the work, product, activity, or event you would like the judges to consider.
  • Description of the context in which it was done. If it was done for a school assignment, what was the assignment?
  • Brief explanation of why you think it deserves recognition.
Sounds pretty easy! Is that all?
That’s all we require. But it’ll help your case if you provide good documentation, too. For example, you might include:
  • A copy of the work itself, if it’s on paper or easily transportable.
  • Documentation such as photos, drawings, or articles.
  • Comments and endorsements from teachers, students, or other eyewitnesses.
  • Audio tapes, videotapes, etc. - but keep in mind that materials that can be more easily posted on the web will be easier for the judges to view.
If you can possibly submit your materials in digital form by e-mail or on the web, we’ll send happy thoughts and moonbeams in your direction, because it will save us a lot of trouble. But we’ll try to work with whatever you give us.
When can we start submitting nominations?
How about now? Now is good. Is now good for you?
What's the deadline?
April 16 of each year is the deadline for submitting nominations.

You’ll improve your chances by submitting any supporting documentation early, especially if it includes videotapes, audio tapes, cuneiform tablets, or other stuff that can’t easily be posted on the web, because the judges might have to pass your materials around by snailmail.

April 23 is the final deadline for submitting documentation. We won’t look at anything submitted later. This is an absolute, positive, definite deadline. No exceptions, not even if you look up at us pleadingly with your big brown eyes, your lower lip quivering pathetically.

How are winners chosen?
The winner is selected by a committee of Uni alumni who have proven their wyldeness by winning the award themselves in past years, along with members of the Class of ’72 who founded the award. Nominees are judged on the basis of their originality and their contribution to the enlightenment, enrapturement, and overall effervescence of humanity. The committee may employ a variety of techniques in the judging process, including, but not limited to, throwing darts, examining chicken entrails, and seeking the advice of faculty members. Decisions of the judges are final.
I don’t like all your stupid rules. What if I just make up my own award?
Good idea! We might even give you a Wylde Q. Chicken award for that.
How did this tradition come about?
The award was conceived during a conversation among members of the class of '72 that followed a 1997 reunion party, but the seeds for it were planted 28 years earlier. The story is told here.
Who is Wylde Q. Chicken, anyway?
Along with the yeti and the Loch Ness monster, the identity of Wylde Q. Chicken ranks as one of the world’s great unsolved mysteries. Some people who claim to have experienced close encounters with Wylde Q. describe him as a small wire man that David Woolley fashioned by hand in art class and kept hanging in his locker. Others say he was a real live chicken from the University farm whose picture appeared among the senior photos in the 1972 Uni yearbook. Skeptics argue that he’s just an imaginary character invented by Jeff Becker during freshman math. The full truth might never be known.
How frequently are these questions asked, really?
Constantly! Well, pretty often, anyhow. More than you’d think, if you never thought about it.
Why did the chicken cross the road?
She wanted to walk on the Wylde side.
"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted."
- Martin Luther King

The Wylde Q. Chicken Award is funded by the Uni Class of 1972 with support from the Uni High faculty and administration.
Web site created by David "Wyldon" Woolley  •  Web space courtesy of Thinkofit, Inc.
Local Class of ’72 Representatives: Scott "Reg'lar Guy" Wyatt and Robert Zych
Wylde Q. Chicken plaque and logo created by Jeff Becker
Copyright © 1998-2018 SeWylde Muse