Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 3, 2012

Safe spring fling

TAHLEQUAH — The University Center at Northeastern State University will be the site of this year’s Tahlequah High School Save-A-Senior all-night graduation party.

“It will consist of the basement level, the first floor and then the ballroom,” said Save-A-Senior Parent Committee member Jennifer Patrick.

Every August a new set of Senior parents begins the fundraising process for the end-of-year post-graduation event, and this year’s group has raised $26,000 in various fundraisers and donations.

“The money goes to pay for the venue and it pays for food and entertainment, which we’ll have a hypnotist, a mechanical bull, a big blowup obstacle course, a bungee run, a joust, an oxygen station, a deejay will be playing in two different areas, unlimited use of pool tables, a photo booth, karaoke and then prizes lots and lots of prizes,” Patrick said. “We have some great prizes like iPads, computers, TVs, gift cards, DVD players, blueray players, computer speakers .. every student will leave with a $25 Walmart card and a prize. That’s our goal so we need those donations.”

Fundraisers held over the school year to raise money for the all-night celebration have included a dessert auction, a silent basket auction, a Chili’s night, a Cherry Berry night, a baked potato lunch, a beans and rice lunch, a dinner sale for teachers during parent-teacher conferences, a golf tournament, a Masonic pancake breakfast and donation letters.

“And they’re still able to send donations, if they would like, and that would be wonderful and is much needed,” said Patrick. “The donations can still be mailed to PO Box 517 in Tahlequah during the whole month of May. If anything comes in after graduation will go to the next class.”

Patrick added the donations help to ensure that every student participating in the lock-in leaves with a gift card and prize.

“It’s for a safe, drug-free, alcohol-free environment to have a great party and one last great memory with your friends,” she said. “If they get bored, we’ll just send them to the oxygen station and then they can recharge and go at it again.”

Fellow parent-committee member Paula Young said the NSU University Center should make for a great location to host the safe-environment activity.

“We’re real excited about it,” she said. “I think it’s going to be utilized in a positive way for us this year.”

In a related Daily Press story published in February, committee chairwoman Lori Jennings said over the years the parent committees have received 85 percent participation among seniors and hopes to see similar numbers from the current class, which has 264 seniors. The event will begin immediately following the graduation ceremony, and Jennings emphasized it was important for both parents and  participants to understand and follow the rules for the all-night party.

Senior Brian Barlow said the students were kept in the loop when committee members were discussing ideas and making decisions.

“I think our parents have done an outstanding job,” he said. “My mom called me into her office on a regular basis whenever there were questions.”

Kallie Patrick answered the most important question of why seniors should opt for the all-night sober fest.

“Because you get free stuff,” she said.

“And they participated in many of the fundraisers,” said Tahlequah Public Schools Business Manager Diane Adamson. “They helped make deliveries and clean up. They’ve done a great job.”

Pre-registration begins this month with a May 18 deadline, and seniors are required to sign a contract, which will be provided during a May 8 senior assembly, that expresses their clear understanding that once they’re checked into the event they will not be permitted to leave until the party’s over the following morning or a parent is present to sign the student out.

Once a student leaves the activity, he or she will not be allowed to re-enter. Security will be provided by student parents and school resource officers.

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