The Cheshire High School All Night Grad Party has been a tradition in town since the 1980s, and now it might need some help from the locals in order to keep this community event alive.
Typically, the Cheshire High School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) starts fundraising for the event in January, in order to make sure that there are enough prizes and gifts for all the students who choose to participate. In recent years, the party has had between 90 and 100% participation from CHS seniors, according to the CHS PTO.
“This year, we were so uncertain about whether we would even have the Grad Party,” explained Landa Vernon, member of the CHS PTO. “COVID-19 has really uprooted so much of our lives and we didn’t want to start planning something that we couldn’t finish, so we held out and it paid off, although now we have to make up for lost time.”
The PTO must begin the daunting task of fundraising now, with only five weeks until graduation.
“We have been scrambling to try and find anything and everything to get so we can ensure our students have a good time,” Vernon added. “What people also forget is that this event also keeps our kids safe, and has for years.”
The purpose of the All Night Grad Party is to provide a safe, fun place for students to celebrate the evening of their graduation without access to alcohol or other drugs. Students who choose to participate arrive around 9:30 p.m. and are “locked in” at the school until 5 a.m. the next morning.
The night typically includes arcade games, food from local vendors, and a hypnotist show, and culminates with a large raffle of items that students might use in their college dorms the following fall.
The PTO usually spends months collecting items from local businesses to give away.
“If people want to donate cash, we can go out and buy items as well,” Vernon added.
With the end of the school year creeping up closely, the team is scrambling to get everything together in time.
“We also have to decorate the school and find chaperones who will feel comfortable staying the whole night. We usually have local parents and teachers who help us out,” Vernon added.
If you are interested in assisting with the All Night Grad Party, contact Landa Vernon at email@example.com. Vernon and the rest of the PTO are accepting donations through the PTO website, along with Venmo donations that can be made to @CheshireHighPTO.