Post-grad party gives kids a place to celebrate safely

Games, a DJ and dancing, karaoke, food and, of course, prizes — including some electronic stuff useful at college — await Ridgefield High School graduates who’ll party together on their big night.

“It’s their last hurrah together as a class, and it’s a real bonding night for them,” said Steve Scott, who is in his sixth year working on the PTA committee planning the annual bash. “They all wear their college sweatshirts. It’s their last hurrah where they’ll all be together as a class before they go their separate ways.

“It is, of course, an alcohol-free event,” he said. “The origin of this party is because a graduate was killed on graduation night in 1983. This party came to be in the following year, and it’s been a tradition ever since.”

RHS graduation ceremonies are at 4 Friday afternoon, June 22, at WestConn’s O’Neill Center in Danbury, and the post-grad party  is at the Ridgefield Recreation Center from 10 o’clock Friday night to  3:30 Saturday morning.

The kids go, all their friends go, it works.

“We get about 85% sign ups from the graduates, and 90% of them show up,” Scott said.

“It’s a themed party, throughout the entire rec center — the theme is always a surprise.

“It’s a great night. It’s a night of fun and games, and a potential to win prizes for college,” he said.

“There are grand prizes at the end, so everyone has to stay around to win the grand prizes.”

What are they?

“Significant electronic prizes,” he said.

Games for graduates to play at the party will include “team games, physical games — obstacle course, riding a bull — some video games, some sports games,” Scott said.

“There’s a DJ, dancing and karaoke and all kinds of food  — food, food, food — and beverages all night long,” he said.

Volunteers and donations

A committee of high school parents puts the party together each year, and many work on it several years running.

“It’s a real collaborative volunteer event,” Scott said. “The committee works on it all year long, planning it and coordinating it.”

And there’s a whole gang of people who work the night of the nearly all-night party.

“There are almost 200 volunteers needed all night to pull it off, so we’re looking for parent volunteers and community volunteers,” he said.

“They help with the running of the games and prizes. They can help with the food in the dining area.”

People can sign up for any of three shifts stretching from Friday night into Saturday morning: 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.; 12:45 to 4 a.m.; and “break down” from 3:30 to 5 a.m.

People interested in volunteering can sign up on party’s web page:

They could also email Scott at:

“Going forward we’re looking for new committee members, too,” he said.

“There are about 20 of us on the committee.”

People who get involved are often “incoming middle school and high school parents,” he said.

It’s an expensive party to throw, and the committee depends upon donations from parents, businesses, townspeople.

“We’re always looking for donations. This party is all paid for through donations from RHS families and local businesses. There’s no PTA money for this,” he said.

High school and graduating class parents should have a particular interest in donating to keep the party going, year after year.

“We’re never at 100% donations from parents, and we’re always looking to increase that number,” Scott said.

“Parents should be aware that without donations this party won’t continue.”

For the volunteers who work the night of the party, it’s a fun evening.

“It’s a great night to be around the kids,” Scott said. “...These kids are graduating high school, they’re going on to college — and they come to this, and they seem like they’re young adults. It’s great time to see them.”