January 11, 2012 - They say planning a fun high school graduation party is not easy.
Doing so for 400 or more tempermental teenagers locked in a building for more than six hours during this year's Senior All Night Party seems like mission impossible.
Parents of graduating students from Lake Orion High School, however have been successfully hosting such parties since 1985, the year after I received my diploma there.
(I am not sure if that makes my class infamous but, like most parents today, I think it is a great idea.)
A core group of moms and dads have been meeting since last fall to plan the event, which typically starts a couple hours after the graduation ceremony and ends at six a.m. the following morning. Their latest meeting was last week, a little more than five months before the kids' June 12 graduation.
For those not familiar with the supervised party, there is plenty of entertainment and other activities, plus tons of donated food and beverages, raffles and other fun giveaways to make the evening truly memorable for the graduates. There is something for everyone.
Most importantly, those kids in the building cannot leave before the sun comes up, helping them celebrate their acheivement in a safe manner.
Of course, such a send-off party takes money and other donations to pull off. Each year, the previous party planners leave any extra money in the non-profit group's account for the follow year's planners, but additional money still has to be raised.
The 2012 planning team is kicking its fundraising efforts into high gear over the next couple of weeks, meeting with local businesses to secure cash and other contributions for the graduation night festivities. In addition to money, contributions typically include food and drinks, prizes, party su services.
Local photographer Ed Maurer, for example, is donating his time to take commemorative pictures of kid s who attend the all-nighter.
I think I can speak for all parents of graduating seniors this year when I say my No. 1 goal is to get my kid through the next five months in one piece. Having many of them under lock and key on graduation night - while having fun, too - is well worth it to us and should be for the entire Lake Orion community.
The planning group already has some 85 senior-parent volunteers for this year's Senior All Night Party, plus a dozen or so junior parents who want to see what they are in for next year. More are needed, however, to pick-up and deliver everything to the high school, set up and decorate, chaporone the party and clean up afterwards.
I will be on the cleanup crew. Maybe a few of my senior-dad friends can join me. (We have been cleaning up after our kids for years now, so what's one more night, right?)
You do not need to be a senior parent to see the value in this event. Most of us have kids, grandchildren, neices/nephews, neighbors or friends who have attended such parties here or elsewhere. The 2012 party planners are hoping to raise $8,000 or more through their fundraising efforts, plus other donations.
If this year will truly mark the end of the world, let's send the last class of Lake Orion grads out in style with one heck of an Senior All Night Party.
Persons interested in making a donation can make a check out to Lake Orion Community Schools (LOCS) with "SANP" in the memo line. Mail them to Annette Cox, the party's fundraising chair at 2520 Huntington Drive, Lake Orion, MI 48360. The Senior All Night Party is a registered non-profit entity, so the donation is tax deductible. Those who may want to contribute in other ways should contact Cox at 248-933-4164.
This senior parent appreciates everyone's help in keeping our kids safe on graduation night. It is funny how we look at things differently as we grow older. In hindsight, I think my friends and I were just very lucky the night of mine.
Please support the 2012 Lake Orion Senior All Night Party any way you can. Thanks. pplies and sometimes in-kind