The Grad Night Committee Hosts a Big Event | Community

The road has not been easy for the Cougar Class of 2022. Students have spent the past two years dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting changed academic and social landscape, but thanks to hard work from the school administration and the Grad Night committee, the seniors will end their stay at Half Moon Bay High School with traditional activities to honor their accomplishments.

An in-person graduation will be held June 2 at the Half Moon Bay High School football field, and depending on pomp and circumstance, Grad Night will be held later, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. at the Ted Adcock Community Center, 535 Kelly Ave.

“It’s going to be a big party,” said Robyn Souza, volunteer coordinator. “We would love for any of the seniors to come.”

Grad Night is a community-sponsored non-profit event that provides the Class of 2022 with a safe and fun celebration with dancing, games, food, activities and prizes.

At the event, volunteers run a casino room where seniors can play cards and win raffle tickets, which they can then use in the prize room. There is also a dance floor, a cinema room and games.

Friends and families of students are encouraged to write letters or send congratulatory cards in the months leading up to the party, to be opened by the graduate that evening. Families are also encouraged to compile a collage of photos of their graduate at different times in their lives, to hang with their classmates in what they call “Memory Lane”.

“Older people can just enjoy the collages of their lives,” Souza said. “You know, the icing on the nose of your first birthday, to graduate.”

2019 was the last time the committee was able to hold a traditional party. In 2020 they again gave out gifts for the elderly and in 2021 he partnered with Beach Break Entertainment for an outdoor movie night. This spring, the party is in full swing.

“Grad Night is part of a national movement that has highlighted the danger of this particular night for this group of children, as they are fresh out of school,” Souza said.

While the percentage of high school teens who drink and drive has more than halved, 54%, since 1991, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that high school teens drive after drinking about 2, 4 million times per month.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, road crashes remain the leading cause of death among teens, with around a third of those involving alcohol. On graduation night, that number jumps to 40%.

Each year, graduation across America is a tragedy for the families of nearly 3,000 hopeful graduates who lose their lives to drunk driving, and more than 225,000 more are sent to the emergency room for the treatment of serious injuries.

“The idea was that instead of allowing them to drive to parties and lose control of a night they might not think about as clearly as they otherwise would, the volunteers organize party,” Souza said. “It’s a chance for them to really let loose and have fun with their class for the last time before moving on.”

There are about a dozen year-round volunteers on the committee who organize the event, many of whom have children who graduated years ago, but who are still working to make the event possible for every class. of graduates. Around 100 volunteers are involved on the night of the party, handing out blackjack, serving snacks and performing it.

The Grad Night Committee is again looking for volunteers for the upcoming celebration.

“Shifts start at three o’clock,” Souza said. “No commitment is too small.”

Souza also mentioned that they usually encourage lower-class parents to sign up to volunteer, a way to pay it forward and allow older families to enjoy the big day.

“We especially want to encourage parents of freshmen, sophomores and juniors to join us this year, so that when it’s their turn, they can enjoy the party,” Souza said.

For those wishing to register as volunteers, purchase tickets or make a donation, visit hmbhsgradnight.com.

Joseph K. Bennett