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Seniors Finish Out School Year With Sober Grad Fun
DJ Sandoval brought plenty of tunes for the seniors to enjoy, here rocking out to a Taylor Swift song outside the EHS gym. Marg Jackson/The Times

With a relatively short time to pull it all together, the Sober Grad Planning Committee was able to host an in-person event for the Class of 2021.

Staged primarily outdoors on the campus of Escalon High School, the after-graduation party for the seniors ran from Friday night, June 4 into the early morning hours of Saturday, June 5.

“It was definitely a whirlwind,” admitted Krysten Lial, one of this year’s committee members. “We got the okay to start planning in April.”

She said the goal was to put on a traditional Sober Grad Night with all the fun events, with a variety of games, activities, food and fun. They did have to change it up somewhat, to account for ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, with facemasks required in some indoor areas. Most of the activities were set up outside, in the tennis court area, the courtyard outside the gym and adjacent to the cafeteria.

“We just spread it out more,” Lial said.

Laser tag, DJ Sandoval providing music for dancing, casino games, inflatables, a movie, paint night with local art studio owner Alicia Johnson, a corn hole tournament and more were featured. The night wrapped up with a hypnotist show and the drawing for prizes.

From a graduating class of just over 200, Lial said they had 139 of them attend the Sober Grad Night. Serving as the sponsoring organization this year was the Escalon Educational Foundation.

“The best thing about it was our district, the school and the committee worked well together,” Lial added. “I really feel it was a success … the kids were so grateful.”

Winning the $500 grand prize was Kaleohano Pebria and Alvaro Desni was the winner of the laptop. The most popular item, in terms of tickets submitted, was the mini-fridge, which was won by Nathan Ogilvie. Close behind was the Nintendo Switch, won by Michael Baptista. Every student attending got some sort of prize, whether it was cash or merchandise.

Sober Grad longtime volunteers and mentors Lisa McCune and Tracy Gaffney were there to help this year and Lial said other planning committee members included Jackie Wentzell and Jessica Rozevink.

New this year was a corn hole tournament and winners of $75 gift certificates each in that competition were first place finishers Ty Harris and Logan Webster, with second place and $50 in gift certificates going to both Ryilee McNulty and Luke Anderson.

There were multiple volunteers that helped out throughout the event and Lial said she was happy it came together for the graduating class.

“These kids deserved it,” she said.

Students enjoyed trying their hand at blackjack inside the cafeteria, one of the casino games offered. Marg Jackson/The Times
Shown are just a few of the finished Cougar Paw paint night projects, drying so they will be ready for seniors to take home as a special keepsake.