Grad Night: What an adventure!
Here’s the scenario: 58 just-graduates of Friday Harbor High School who hop on a bus and expect to have the time of their lives. Plan an unforgettable night for them.
That’s exactly what Nancy Young and the rest of the Grad Night Committee did. The amazing team of parents, friends, volunteers, and businesses created a magical night that each senior can reflect on as one of the best nights of their lives, surrounded by classmates as they journeyed from one stage of life to another.
So here’s what that lucky centennial class of Friday Harbor did after leaving on the bus after graduation…
They blasted the music and danced their way to Roche Harbor, where bungee jumping, a mechanical bull, and an inflatable dunking game kept them well entertained. For the less adrenaline-rush inclined graduates, there was also ping pong and tables to chat with friends.
Then the food came out. Delicious steak, pad thai, and all sorts of other delicious goodies found their way off the grill and into the stomachs of each grad as they laughed and bonded with fellow classmates. After a short period of digestion, about half decided to go swimming in the pool and three extremely brave young men jumped in the ocean before taking their dip in the (much warmer) pool.
Think that was a great experience by itself? There were still three stops to go.
After drying off, the excited group piled back on the bus to the bowling alley for a special late night bowling and gaming session. A photo booth was there for the graduates to take pictures with their buddies as keepsakes, as well as distributed t-shirts for each senior. Think blacklights as silver Sharpies met black shirts as graduates signed any place on the shirt they could squeeze in letters.
After a few rounds of bowling, air hockey, and pool, they headed back to the bus and went to the next exciting destination: the Community Theatre.
As it was already about 2am upon arrival, an espresso stand was a welcome treat upon entering the building, into addition to chocolate goodies and other fantastic desserts. After a bit of down time (or should I say, an opportunity to build suspense for the next activity), popular Seattle comedian and entertainer Alex Zerbie put on the next part of the show. Brave audience volunteers Stewart Bell, Christian Falls, Jimmy Chaffee, and Gabby Rishel all had a chance to show the class their best dance moves and Jimmy even starred in a audio clip.
So what happened next? Here’s my favorite part.
After lots of laughter and applause, the grads moved over to the main stage of the theater…where they got to listen to Seattle rapper Common Market(!!) and the island’s own ever-popular Good Husbands. A great dance party commenced as kids belted out the familiar lyrics and danced vigorously to each song.
But the night still wasn’t over. It was 5am, and time to watch the sunrise.
The seniors traveled by bus to the Port, where the Odyssey was docked. The kids climbed aboard and were instantly greeted with a bag for each individual containing cards from teacher and heartfelt letters from relatives and close family friends. As the boat pulled away from the dock, each realized just how special it was to grow up here on these magical islands. Each senior was given a wishing rock collected from South Beach and instructed to make a wish and throw it off the boat into the swirling ocean as the sun came up.
A group of tired but happy alumni returned to the school at 6am to be greeted by sleepy but proud parents. It was time to say goodbye to high school and hello to the next stage of life. The transition would not have been as smooth if not for the amazing dedication of the Grad Night Committee, which put in at least a hundred hours between last September and June, and every island business who assisted. Here’s the list:
San Juan Prevention Coalition-Joyce Stimpson/Cynthia Stark-Wickman, Kings-Verne Howard, Roche Harbor -(Brent Snow/Kevin Carlton), Terry Ogle Painting, Island Rec, Browne’s Home Center, Sunshine Laundry, Felicity, SJ Community Theatre, and staff, FH Rental, Odyssey- San Juan Excursions, Paradise Lanes Bowling, Alley TnT Coffee, Teresa Chevalier-Kings Sportwear, Tif and Gif, SJ Propane, Joe Gamez, Hureistic Food, All the chaperones and lifeguards, too many to list ! and…the Senior Class Parents.