Julie Siegenthaler: Safe and sober grad night | TheUnion.com

Julie Siegenthaler: Safe and sober grad night

Julie Siegenthaler
Other Voices

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you how quickly time seems to fly between diapers and drivers licenses. But of the 18 years it takes to bring baby to adulthood, no year seems to go faster than the senior year of high school.

What better way for a grad to say farewell to childhood than safely spending one final night with friends celebrating accomplishments and sharing plans for the future?

Following the Bear River High School cap-and-gown celebrations, the evening of high school graduation is filled with memory-making moments, even for us parents. We eagerly listen for the turn of a key in the front door, signaling the safe return of our newly-minted adults; experience has taught us that graduation memories made aren’t always happy ones.

Over 30 years ago, a post-graduation celebration in Maine turned horrific as a dozen young lives, filled with hopes and dreams, were extinguished in a traffic accident involving alcohol. The tragedy sparked a partnership among parents and community members, who committed to preventing such tragedies in the future through a hosted safe and sober graduation night celebration. The community surrounding Bear River High School students is proud to participate in this nationwide tradition of a drug and alcohol-free party replete with food, games, prizes, music, and fun.

Although the festivities take place on the school campus, the eagerly anticipated event is not school-sponsored, so Bear River grads must rely solely on the generosity of their community to provide a safe and memorable celebration for them. Annually, a group of dedicated parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, former grads, and other volunteers raise funds, garner donations, and serve as boots on the ground. This year Safe and Sober Grad Night takes place on at 9 p.m. Friday, June 7, through 3 a.m. on June 8.

Does ensuring the safety of our Bear River High grads while sending them off into adulthood interest you? If so, there are three ways to help:

Donation of goods or services: Companies or individuals can support Grad Night with contributions of prize items, gift cards, food, or beverages. The Grad Night Committee will be happy to answer any questions and arrange pick-up via email through brhsgradnight@gmail.com, or by calling 530-432-8801.

Cash donations: Not a shopper? A check can be made out to Bear River Grad Night 2019 and dropped off at the school office, or mailed to 11130 Magnolia Road, Grass Valley, CA 95949. The entire donation amount will be used to fund Grad Night .

Hands-on help: Donations of time and talent are equally valuable. A successful Grad Night needs volunteers for decorating, setup, serving, assisting with games, and clean-up. The time commitment is low, and the students always appreciate it.

Thank you for any support you can give for Bear River High School Safe and Sober Grad Night. We strive to provide a memorable farewell to the students, while keeping them safe from late-night roadways.

Julie Siegenthaler lives in Penn Valley.

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