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Graduation Parties: Keeping Graduates Entertained and Safe

Parent groups raise funds and plan all-night events for graduating seniors to encourage safety while celebrating.

Graduation is a not only the end of one step in a student's education, but a beginning -a commencement of the rest of a student’s life.

, the and families want to keep it that way.

While kindergarten “grads” might enjoy pizza parties at the parks and fifth grade and eighth graders promoting to middle school or high school will have pool parties, dinners and school dances, parents of students in Pleasanton’s high schools are encouraging families to put safety first in celebrations.

In prior years, the Police Department has hosted town-hall style meetings several weeks prior to commencement ceremonies to educate families and students about safety risks and measures to take. The message has led to parent groups planning elaborate but safe celebrations free of drugs and alcohol that are attended by a vast majority of graduates.

Foothill High School graduates' Friday night’s “Grad Night” party at Umigo in Livermore is billed as a “safe and sober way for seniors to enjoy a full night of partying after the graduation ceremony.”

Grad night co-chair Sonja Cuff says, "of more than 500 students graduating from Foothill, nearly 400 have purchased tickets to the event which lasts until 2:30 a.m. June 9."

“We’ll have all sorts of fun events for the students including Go-Kart racing and great food,” said Cuff.

Other highlights include a live DJ and dancing, a full course dinner, appetizers and an ice cream sundae bar catered by Checkers Catering & Special Events. Additionally there will be a casino, carnival and arcade games, and a surprise performance at midnight of which organizers will provide no hints.

A $165 ticket price per person may seem costly -but with round-trip bus transportation and no individual vehicles allowed at the party, the night promises safety parents know is priceless.

Organizers also built in a scholarship fund for students who applied for financial assistance due to a family’s inability to purchase a ticket.

The event will be the perfect culmination to a busy year that included worries Foothill would not host a . Due to fundraising, both from the Denim and Diamonds fundraiser and direct donations from families, the commencement ceremony will take place Friday at the Foothill football stadium.

Amador Valley High School graduates will enjoy an event sponsored by the Amador Senior Class Parents, a group that planned various senior class events including the Senior Scholarship Evening, the Senior Ball, the Senior Breakfast, the Senior Awards Ceremony, and a Baccalaureate celebration held earlier this month.

Amador’s Grad Night, which takes place at Club Sport Pleasanton from 10:30 p.m. Fri., June 8, until 3:00 a.m. the following morning, is billed as a “safe and sober graduation party that is parent organized and run.”

A letter sent to parents of seniors early in the year detailed the reasons behind the Safe and Sober grad night planning and requested family assistance in contributing to the event with supplies or monetary donations:

Dear Parents:

Graduation creates an emotionally charged day and an even more electrifying evening that holds the promise of many celebration parties.  National statistics indicate that more teenage alcohol-related accidents and fatalities occur on high school graduation night than any other time of the year.  For fatal crashes occurring from midnight to 3:00 am, 77% involved alcohol. 

Safe and Sober Grad Night provides a supervised, safe environment for the graduating Seniors to celebrate.  At Safe and Sober Grad Night the graduates can have “the time of their lives” without risking their lives.  By providing a Safe and Sober Grad Night, we can greatly reduce the risk of harm to the graduates, and the community at large – on a night when that risk is unusually high.

To ensure safety and fun for all attendees, Grad Night rules for both Amador and Foothill stipulate specific guidelines parents and students must agree to before attending.

In addition to rules prohibiting intoxication or use of alcohol or drugs, Grad Night late arrivals will not be admitted, and backpacks or bags are not permitted at Grad Night. Cell phones may be checked in on arrival but may not be brought into the event. Graduates will not be permitted to leave prior to the end of the event unless arrangements are made between Grad Night organizers and parents.

As the old adage goes, “Safety doesn’t happen by accident.”

Have a terrific Grad Night, Pleasanton seniors. Congratulations!

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