Maria Cobarruvias is passionate about the safety of the Oakdale High School Class of 2017. As the Sober Grad Night Event Chairperson, some might say it’s a passion not exclusive to the current graduating class. Cobarruvias has headed up the Sober Grad effort for the past handful of years and this year is no different.
“It’s pretty amazing to give and then watch this community come together to pull this thing together,” she said of Sober Grad Night. “It’s pretty rewarding. It really is.”
Sober Grad Night is organized and hosted each year by a team of parent and community volunteers committed to giving graduates a safe, fun place to celebrate their graduation. It will be hosted Friday night, May 26 at Sierra View Elementary School beginning at 10 p.m. Graduates have until 11 p.m. to arrive and then doors are locked. Tickets are $50 in advance or $60 at the door.
“No one is allowed in after that,” Cobarruvias said.
While attendees are not forced to stay for the entire overnight event, they are encouraged to do so. Raffle items are drawn between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Saturday morning.
Cobarruvias and her core committee of 14 got a later start than expected, but it has not affected the fun and festivities planned for the 2017 graduating Mustangs.
“We didn’t get started until the end of February,” she said. “I didn’t think we’d pull this off.”
Now with the celebration just days away, ‘pull this off’ is well in place, as the group finalizes their plans for set up of the carnival-type atmosphere. Graduates will be entertained by the ever popular blackjack table, roulette, casino type feel and treated to the sounds of DJ Sounds in Motion.
This year there will also be an addition of volleyball, tricycle racing, oversized twister, as well as Spec Ops paint ball and human foosball.
“Something really different we’re doing this year, is a midnight café,” Cobarruvias said, noting that custom made burgers will be made to order for hungry graduates.
With student safety being the primary objective the group hopes that the activities as well as the prizes will be enough to entice the students to stay. Raffle prizes include a kayak, two bikes, drone, tablets and cash drawings.
“They have to be there (to win). That’s the whole idea. To keep them there and keep them safe,” Cobarruvias said.
The event has been going strong for several years and encourages parents of underclassmen to get involved early, helping put on the party and keep the Sober Grad festivities going for the classes to follow.
“When I first started this, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” she admitted.
Recalling overhearing a well-known “party kid” state the event was cool, Cobarruvias said that validated the efforts of the committee and 50-plus volunteers it takes to make it happen.
Volunteers for varying shifts throughout the night are still being sought. Those interested in volunteering may do so by visiting the Oakdale Sober Grad Night on Facebook or call Stephanie Hicks at 613-3104.