SOUTHINGTON – Despite a late start, parents are working to raise money for a high school graduation party that’s planned for Lake Compounce in June.
Uncertainty over year-end plans meant that preparations, which usually start in September, didn’t begin until last month.
“We’re just trying to do something special for them,” said parent Tina Petrone, a co chairwoman of the All Knight Graduation Party committee.
Graduation is planned for June 18, but details are still in the works. There’s no date or plans yet for prom, usually held in May.
Terri Carmody, school board chairwoman, said the pandemic still makes planning difficult.
“They’re talking about a few things, nothing is definite yet,” she said. “There have been some ideas out there.”
Carmody said district leaders will see what health officials say about gatherings close to the end of the school year.
“It’s a lot of hopeful thinking here,” she said. ”I’m hoping they can have it all.”
Last year, graduates received diplomas at one of four staggered, socially-distanced events at the high school’s football field.
Grad party at Lake Compounce
Using Southington High School for an all-night graduation party wasn’t possible this year so parents began looking for another location. Nicole Monteiro, party committee chairwoman, said high school principal Frank Pepe helped get the party moved to Lake Compounce. The graduating class will have the park entirely to themselves, including some rides.
“We’ll be able to social distance, we’ll have some other activities, we’ll have a DJ,” Monteiro said.
Parents usually raise about $25,000 to hold the graduation party. This year’s event won’t go all night but organizers hope to include the popular elements of previous parties, such as raffles and plenty of food.
Fundraising usually starts in September. Since a location wasn’t set until last month, there’s less time to raise money but parents said they’re encouraged by the initial response from businesses.
Monteiro said she sent out letters to 200 businesses last week and has already gotten about $1,000.
In addition to letters, the group is also hosting a fundraiser at Chipotle restaurant this month. Petrone said parents have been stepping up to volunteer for the event.
“A lot of parents are happy and willing to help,” she said.
To donate or volunteer for the graduation party, contact organizers at SHSAKGP@gmail.com.
Petrone said Pepe is working to hold both prom and graduation outdoors this year. Petrone’s daughter, a competitive dancer, has been learning remotely since she can’t afford to miss competitions due to quarantines. Not seeing friends has been difficult this year for all the students, Petrone said.
“We’re just trying to give the kids something,” she said.