High school graduation is a momentous occasion. To keep graduates safe, many schools host a sober grad night. Activities vary, but the event normally lasts from evening until morning. A few months before graduation, send out a survey to students to learn their interests and ask local businesses to donate prizes for participants. Then create an evening full of celebration and fun.
Recent graduates often enjoy celebrating in a loud way. Hang some disco balls and rent a few card tables to create a "casino." Provide games that allow for different ability levels, such as poker and blackjack -- and of course, have plenty of play money on hand. Recruit parents and school staff to serve beverages and snacks. Another option is a pool party if your school or town allows them. If so, host a water volleyball game or provide rafts for relaxation.
Many activities suit loud and rambunctious graduates, but you might also want some that suit the quieter types. Provide tables for chess, checkers and other board games. Set up a television for an interactive trivia game contest. Find parent and teacher volunteers with offbeat skills to host mini lessons on less serious activities, such as juggling or caricature drawing. If funding permits, or you can get professional volunteers, you might also want to include a psychic or astrologer in the night's lineup.
Keep 'Em Movin'
Keep students awake all night with physical activities. Hire a DJ to manage the dance floor -- and also set up a tug-of-war, bag toss and musical chair competitions. If space permits, set up larger activities such as inflatable bounce houses or a golf putting range. Rent sports games for an interactive gaming console and let students play tennis, golf, and baseball.
The new graduates will need to refuel during the night's activities. Provide water and healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetable and cheese plates. Make food part of the fun with an ice-cream buffet, nacho spread, an old-fashioned popcorn machine or a super-sized submarine sandwich. Dress parents or volunteers as school cooks, complete with hair nets.
A photo booth is perfect way for grads to create lasting memories of the event with their friends. You can also assemble a presentation of memories by asking parents for digital photos of the students that span from kindergarten to the present. Also send out questionnaires to the graduates, asking their hidden crushes, biggest fears and greatest changes. Consolidate all the answers or the most memorable. Create copies of the packet and distribute them as the night closes. Play a slide show of pictures throughout the night's activities. You can also create an online memory book that includes photos, student memories and descriptions of trends, popular music and events for each school year. Print a few of the books for students to view at the sober grad party -- and take orders from students who want copies for themselves.
Lauralee Moss writes about education, female-oriented subjects and parenting. She writes for Advice for Parenting, Book Rags and other websites. Moss' master's degree research project studied the organizational habits of high schoolers. She is currently developing a new website about switching classrooms and educational theories.