Oakdale’s Sober Grad Night (SGN) committee is busy in preparation for this year’s Sober Grad event but they are ready to pass the torch to a new generation of members.
SGN committee chairperson Peggy Schmidt reported that this is her eighth year being involved with SGN and her youngest child is graduating, so she and others on the committee will be stepping down once this year’s event is over.
“Sober Grad Night is on track. It’s set to go, we’ve got vendors hired,” Schmidt reported.
However, SGN volunteer coordinator Irene Lahey reported that a number of key people have stepped down except for just a couple of positions. Schmidt noted that all of the board members have graduating seniors this year, except for one who has grandchildren in elementary school, but she, too, wishes to bow out after this year. Schmidt added that the board ideally has at least five members, sometimes more, and that a full new board will be needed for next year.
“We’re down to a skeleton crew right now,” Schmidt said. “…We’re looking for some good bodies with younger students for a two or three year commitment.”
She added that people with students in junior high would be great to have on the committee as well and that being part of the SGN committee is a “great experience” and a “blast.”
Schmidt said that there are many months of planning for this eight-hour party for the newly graduated OHS seniors.
“They’re staying safe and they’re staying sober. Prom night and graduation night are the most dangerous for students and we want to alleviate that,” Schmidt said.
“Our local businesses and the community have been very supportive over the years to make this evening a success for our graduates,” Lahey added. “We have some of the same volunteers year after year. However, for this organization to survive, they need new members. It has been around for 20 years, and hopefully some high school parents will get involved to keep it going.”
Mardi Gras is the theme for this year’s SGN, which was selected by the students. They voted in January on the theme, games, food, and other activities they wanted at the event.
There is also a deejay, magician, temporary tattoos, a caricature artist, photo booth, video games, other types of entertainment, and even a quiet room. The students also have their choice of carnival games, laser tag by Spec Ops, casino games, billiards, ping pong, bounce houses, and more. Many students bring their yearbooks to the event for signing.
“We are still in need of volunteers the day and night of the event,” Lahey said.
Schmidt reported that the biggest volunteer needs are various shifts to prepare for and during the event. From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 23 is when the Sierra View location is decorated for the event. On Friday morning, May 24, volunteers are needed to accept the vendors and deliveries for setting up. Then from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. is a heavy need for volunteers. Those two shifts are 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.
“As much time or as little time as you can give us is welcome,” Schmidt said, adding that four-hour shifts are good, but they are glad to have someone come in for a couple of hours to help, too.
She also said that there are jobs for anybody. It can be manning carnival games, bounce houses, or the quiet room, helping with the food, passing out raffle tickets, giving people breaks, and more.
Schmidt said that Oakdale Sunrise Rotary has done the cleanup after the event for the past few years and Spray and Son cleaned the floors, both entities are on board for the job again.
OHS seniors graduate on Friday, May 24 at 8 p.m.
Doors open for the Sober Grad Night party at 10 p.m. on the Sierra View Elementary School campus. The party ends at 6 a.m. on Saturday, May 25. Students must sign in and sign out at the party, but if they leave, there are no re-entry privileges. Schmidt reported that most of the grads stay all night and only a few leave early.
Many prizes are awarded throughout the evening to the grads. They are each given 10 raffle tickets upon entry. They may then “shop” amongst 100 to 125 prize packages with their tickets, which will be awarded through drawings. A sampling of those packages include beauty prizes, clothing, raft trips, department store prizes, a Pier 39 prize, and local home improvement and farm supply store gifts.
Some of the big prize drawings that students are entered into are for cameras, e-readers, and such, but these drawings usually start after 2 a.m. The drawing for a laptop computer takes place at the end of the event. There are also prizes such as a dorm refrigerator, a microwave, toasters, blenders, as well as some fun outdoor prizes like a tent, bicycle, and a raft. Students must be present to win the prizes. Schmidt noted that they do a raffle every 15 minutes at the event. She said that their goal, though not always attained, is to have every student win a prize.
Schmidt added that they never know how much money they will raise until the day of the event. Once they’ve taken out the seed money for the next year’s event, the money left over will be used for cash giveaways to the grads that night.
Students may purchase tickets for $50 in advance at school or through the Sober Grad link on the OHS website with PayPal, or buy tickets at the door for $60. Schmidt said they hope to also have at least 50 to 100 “scholarship” tickets for students who are unable to afford them. The tickets cover all food, drinks, and games at the event.
To donate prizes or money, or to volunteer to help for Sober Grad, contact Lahey via e-mail (preferred) at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 845-9704. Interested parties may also visit the OHS website www.oakdale.k12.ca.us and click on the Sober Grad Night link to purchase tickets, sponsor scholarship tickets, donate prizes or money, or volunteer.