Very Pro ProGrad

The #1 son’s college roommate-to-be, Ben, plays the slots.

All year my #1 son’s high school graduating class and its parents have been planning and organizing for one huge event: Project Graduation. It’s a supervised, all-night lock-in at their high school featuring fun, food, games, prizes, and a hypnotist.

My pal Betsy watches the Spin ’n Win wheel turn with an anxious winner-to-be.

Once we finished up with high school graduation Friday night, we had very little time before we were called to duty and fun at the high school—duty for me as a volunteer, of course, but really fun for both the #1 son and myself.

Sidebar: My #1 son, who isn’t very sociable, totally surprised me last fall when he said he would attend ProGrad. My reaction? Time to volunteer to help him earn the Bulldog bucks that are spent at the event.

Kelsey (pedaling) and Lexi enjoy a tricycle ride.

I had told my friend Elaine that I would help work security, as long as I could take photos, too. That meant I got to stroll the halls, walking softly and carrying my big Nikon D700 and Nikon 50mm lens. Fortunately, the kids were so well-behaved that I didn’t need to work up a sweat showing off my (non)muscular biceps.

My neighbor Cheryl showed her Vegas side as a blackjack dealer.

About 280 kids (a little more than 50 percent) showed up and had plenty to keep them busy. There was a Spin ’n Win wheel with guaranteed prizes (#1 snagged a $10 Target gift card), a prize walk, raffles and drawings, and three hotly contested silent auctions. Laptops, TVs, dorm room necessities, an iPad, and so much more all were up for grabs to those were lucky and/or had earned mega Bulldog bucks during the school year.

Future roomie Ben, my “third son” Chase, and my #1 son contemplate their blackjack strategy.

Unfortunately for my #1 son, he was deficient in both luck and bucks; thus he only scored the Target gift card. But each participant’s duffle bag was brimming with loot worth much more than the $30 or $40 they paid for their ticket. And #1 really had a lot of fun, especially at the casino, and was glad he attended.

Who needs games when you’ve got a camera to look at?

For me, the adrenaline was flowing from ProGrad’s start at 10 p.m. to maybe 1 a.m. when I was ready to bag it and climb into bed. That didn’t seem to be a problem for most of the teenagers, though, who love to stay up late. Especially when there are prizes to be won!

I know how these kids, who are in a hypnotic trance, feel!

Just about when most of the parents were starting to nod off, a hypnotism show started. Although I almost fell asleep along with the kids the talented hypnotist was putting into a trance, I forced myself to stay awake and was glad I did. It was so entertaining to watch the hypnotist’s power of suggestion make these teens push out of their comfort zones. Oh, the stories their friends in the audience had to tell them once the trance was lifted!

#1 sits with Alayna, Josh, Chase, and Jackie in the auditorium.

It was so much fun for me to watch #1 interacting with friends, as the stress of the end of school and graduation disappeared. He might never step foot in his high school again, but he probably never will forget his final time there having fun at ProGrad.

And neither will I!

One response to “Very Pro ProGrad

  1. Those hypnotists are amazing. I’m glad your son went. I’s 1:19 pm and my daughter is still sleeping. She didn’t get home from her all night grad party until 6 this morning. I’m still waiting to hear how it went as I was not as brave as you and did not volunteer. Nice photos. He’ll enjoy having those down the road.

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