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Best Party Ever

Hypnotists, casinos, obstacle courses, and six-figure budgets— East Bay high schoolers get ready for Grad Night.


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Started decades ago to keep high schoolers safe, grad night parties in the East Bay have become extravaganzas that take more than a year to plan, sometimes costing as much as $100,000. That’s a lot of money, but parents say it’s worth every penny to keep teens from drinking and driving. Besides, our kids work hard in high school, so there’s a lot to celebrate. Here’s a look at what it takes to put on a party they’ll never forget.


 

 

They Have What?

Hypnotist permission slips: At Las Lomas High and many other schools, every parent has to give permission for his or her child to be hypnotized by a professional.

Post offices: Many schools set up an area where students can pick up letters written to them by their loved ones.

Obstacle courses: Dougherty Valley High’s grad night, to be held at a rec center in Fremont, will feature a 25-foot inflatable slide, a bungee run, and a rock-climbing wall.

An event planner: Parent associations from Carondelet and De La Salle team up with a pro during the planning process.

Nonprofit status: Some grad night committees, including Dougherty Valley High’s, are certified 501(c)3 nonprofits.

A casino: One of the most popular attractions at grad nights around the East Bay—especially with the boys—is a fully functioning casino, featuring table games like blackjack, craps, and roulette.

Competition for venues: For schools that don’t have enough room on campus, venues like City Beach in Fremont and Boomers in Livermore book up fast.


 

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The Numbers

Number of personal electronic items students are allowed to bring (a cell phone).

4-12  Hours of time a typical grad night celebration lasts. Many schools don’t allow students to leave until dawn.

12  Average number of months parent volunteers spend planning a grad night.

30+ Number of years many schools have continued the tradition.

40 Number of industrial storage containers that Cal High committee chairs use to hold supplies each year.

85-99 Percentage of students who attend their school’s event.

135–180 Range of cost, in dollars, of tickets.

250+ Number of volunteers needed to run some grad night events.

75,000–90,000 Dollars in budget for most schools.

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