According to parent Jeannette Weedermann, Santa Clara High School has not hosted Grad Night on campus for over 20 years before last year. This year, Weedermann and fellow school parent, Nora Reiblein, served as Grad Night co-chairs for Santa Clara High School’s June 3 Grad Night held on the high school campus.
According to Weedermann, this event was open to Santa Clara High School seniors and students at Mission Early College High School who attended Santa Clara High School for two years.
“The last off-campus Grad Night was before COVID in 2019 when the PTSA hosted Grad Night at an amusement park where graduates were bussed out to an event,” Weedermann said. “We think it is more appealing to have a party on campus for the kids because this is their alma mater. These kids have missed out on two years of high school activities and events. Because we have economically diverse students at the school, we wanted to include everyone. We offered scholarship tickets to kids not able to pay for the admission price.”
“We are really proud to bring Grad Night back to campus for the second year and have this be the start of a new tradition,” Reiblein said. “This is the last time this group of kids can gather on campus and celebrate. We are happy we can make this opportunity available to every single senior.”
An estimated 270 attendees participated in Grad Night. One of them was Kristina Kleveland, who will be attending UC Irvine.
“I liked the bouncy obstacle course. You would choose a friend to go on this, you would race your friend, and try to see who could make it down the last slide the fastest,” Kleveland said of Grad Night. “I also liked playing ping-pong and dancing with my friends.”
“The amount of choices we had and the diversity of activities made it really fun for everyone,” said Blake Levins, another Grad Night attendee, who will be attending University of Southern California. “I played a lot of video games, such as Just Dance, and I sang karaoke. We had boba, sandwiches and a ton of different drinks throughout the night.”
Santa Clara High School was not the only district school with a party for graduating seniors. Similar to Santa Clara High School’s Grad Night, financial assistance was available for attendees who could not afford a ticket to Wilcox High School’s June 2 PTSA Senior Send Off. Wilcox High School students have also missed out on activities since the pandemic began.
“There was no Senior Send Off during 2020 but there was a small summer reunion with a taco truck,” said Parent Lisa Schreiber, Chair of the Senior Send Off. “The kids did not have prom in 2020.”
“We wanted to create a night of magic for the kids to get together in a safe and relaxed setting,” continued Schreiber of her and her team’s event planning efforts. “We wanted to give them a night to remember for their whole life. The advantage of being on campus is that the price of the event is more affordable.”
About 289 attendees checked in to the Senior Send Off.
“At the Senior Send Off, there were puppies for me to pet,” recalled Megan Pham, who will be attending UC Davis. “There was a magician with these great tricks. There was a boba bar with three different drinks and three different options for toppings. I liked the street tacos. We had three bouncy house obstacle courses. This event was one last chance for the graduates to hang out and say our goodbyes.”