Improving great tradition

All-night post-graduation parties are ubiquitous among high schools throughout the region. These drug- and alcohol-free parties help keep celebrating students safe, busy and happy at the culmination of their high school careers. Due credit should go to the untiring efforts of the core groups of parents who fund raise year-long to ensure these parties are resoundingly successful.

But amongst the myriad of parent-led, parent-driven events ranging from talent shows and trivia nights to pancake breakfasts and car washes that raise the thousands of dollars necessary for these parties, it seems to us that frequently an essential element gets lost. That element is the students themselves. Too often they take no part in the planning or volunteering necessary for these fundraisers.

That is why we are happy to give a special shout out to a group of about 20 Waterford High School seniors who recently stepped up to reverse this trend. They gave up a recent Saturday night not only to be an integral part of the set-up, operations and clean-up necessary to conduct a successful fund raising live and silent auction to benefit the Class of 2014 party, but also they donated their own brawn and talents as auction items.

Greg Larson, the parent who helped organize the event, voiced his pride in the students who donated babysitting services, lawn mowing, art lessons, lacrosse lessons, photography, musical entertainment, a portrait-drawing session and other services and talent. One student even donated four admission tickets to the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, where the student works, and offered to lead the successful bidders on a personalized behind-the-scenes tour.

These student efforts contributed to the auction proceeds of $19,000. Larson said that while a relatively small number of students in the class of about 200 got involved in the auction, he hopes the trend will grow and become a tradition for Waterford High School seniors.

This trend should grow not only in Waterford, but also in senior classes throughout the region.

These all-night, drug-free parties are certainly beneficial. When statistics show about a third of high school seniors report they binge drink from time to time, any activity that prevents such unhealthy activity and risky behavior is positive. However, these parties also are elaborate and expensive. Costs can run in the $100 per student range.

Every graduating senior could contribute to help make his or her own party a success. Having a direct stake in these events would make these parties that much more meaningful for students.

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