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Final Push For Party
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One final meeting remains - tonight, Wednesday, May 6 at 7 p.m. at Pizza Plus - before the biggest party of the year, the annual Sober Grad Night for graduating Escalon High School seniors.

Co-organizer Debbie Veenstra said officials are pleased with where they stand, nearly reaching their fundraising goal, and are now putting on that final push so everything is ready for the event on Friday, May 29.

"Things are going really well, we're pretty close to meeting our goals for our financial needs," Veenstra said. "Tickets went on sale for the kids on Friday, May 1."

EHS senior Jack Orosco designed this year's invitation, a new feature for the event. Tickets are $35 in advance and will cost $40 at the door. Goal of the Sober Grad Night party is to give graduating high school seniors from Escalon the chance to enjoy a safe and sober all night party with their fellow graduates, giving them lasting memories of their final high school night together.

Graduation is Friday, May 29 and the party kicks off later that evening in the new gym at EHS. Doors open at 11 p.m. and all students attending must be in the gym by midnight. Then, the doors will close and students will be staying at the party until 5 a.m. Saturday, May 30.

"We have our entertainment lined up, this year we are going to have Rock Band and Guitar Hero so the kids can have contests," Veenstra said. "Also, the rock climbing wall will be back, we will have the mechanical bull, all the inflatables will be set up by the tennis courts."

Casino-style gaming tables will also be featured in addition to a variety of pinball machines and arcade games. The ticket price also includes food, beverages, entertainment provided by a DJ and the popular hypnotist show.

"We also will have a picture booth this year and a salon," Veenstra added.

Sober Grad committee members will meet at 7 p.m. tonight at Pizza Plus for a final wrap meeting.

"Anybody that would be interested in helping make the final plans is welcome to come," Veenstra said.

Volunteers are still needed to help decorate prior to the event, work at Sober Grad night and clean up afterward.

"If they can't make it to the meeting, they can get in touch with me, sign-ups are going on now to work at Sober Grad," she said.

Veenstra can be reached at 606-4244.

As always, the night will include plenty of prizes for students. Grand prize includes a lap top and there is also a $500 cash giveaway prize.

"Every child is guaranteed to go home with at least $35 in cash or prizes, which is the price of the ticket, and many go home with more," said Veenstra.

There are a wide variety of prize packages, from cash to goods, and Veenstra said donations are still being accepted for those giveaways. Also, if businesses or individuals want to purchase tickets and donate them back, they can be given to students that might not otherwise have the chance to attend Sober Grad Night.

"This year we do have more than the normal number of kids that are not able to afford the tickets," admitted Veenstra, pointing to the tough economy. "If somebody would be able to sponsor a student to go, that would be wonderful."

Expenses to put on the event have also risen, but Veenstra said she's confident the committee will meet the challenge. Fundraisers have been very successful and provide a good base to start from at the beginning of each new school year, she said.

"We get a lot of presale tickets, probably 80 percent of the kids attending are presale," she noted.

The party has grown in popularity over the years and now, more than two-thirds of the graduating class typically attends the all night event.