Grad Night keeps students safe

Gilroy
– Students looking for a way to celebrate graduation can dress
as sumo wrestlers, ride a mechanical bull or play bungee basketball
at Gilroy High School’s annual Grad Night June 17.
Every year, a committee, made up of seniors’ parents, chooses a
theme for the night. Students won’t know details or see decorations
until they walk through the gym on graduation day.
Gilroy – Students looking for a way to celebrate graduation can dress as sumo wrestlers, ride a mechanical bull or play bungee basketball at Gilroy High School’s annual Grad Night June 17.

Every year, a committee, made up of seniors’ parents, chooses a theme for the night. Students won’t know details or see decorations until they walk through the gym on graduation day. Activities range from “big toys,” such as giant sumo wrestling costumes, to the “cash cube,” where students get one chance to make a grab for real money. The night’s entertainment also includes a casino and a performance by hypnotist Travis Fox.

“If you don’t go, there’s nothing else to do,” said senior Alyssa Habing. “Everyone’s going; its sober; its fun; it’s a way to keep kids safe.”

Laura Rink, also a senior, sees Grad Night as an opportunity to spend more time with her graduating class. “Pretty much all my friends are going,” she said. “It’s the last night to see everyone.”

Gilroy high has held a Grad Night every year since 1987. Schools up and down the state have used grad nights as an attempt to keep students safe on the night they enter the “real world,” following the graduation-night death of a Southern California student in an alcohol-related accident.

At most grad nights, organizers provide students with activities and food, but there’s a catch: The students have to stay all night. Gilroy high’s Grad Night begins between 10 and 11pm, and students must stay until 5am.

The Grad Night committee spends all year preparing for the event. This year’s budget, more than $40,000, was raised through private donations, grants and fund-raising. The committee spends the week before graduation decorating the main and auxiliary gyms.

“We’re locked in from Tuesday to Friday,” said committee member Priscilla Young.

The committee’s hard work has paid off – more students attend Grad Night each year. Last year, about 250 students went, and this year the committee expects 300 graduates to attend.

Parents who would like to help can meet at the gym after school from June 14 to June 17, or contact Priscilla Young at (408) 847-3990.

Who:

GHS graduating seniors.

When:

Check-in between 10 and 11pm, June 17. Students may not leave until 5am the next day

Where:

GHS main and auxiliary gyms

Tickets:

$50, available at GHS from noon to 1pm today in Room D-24, or at the door June 17.

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