After-grad party gives graduates fun, friends and food

Published 9:00 am Sunday, April 12, 2015

For graduating seniors, the after-grad party is their final hurrah with their friends before entering the world of college.

Marilyn Rasmussen and Karina Thompson are the co-chairwomen of the Parent Communication Network for Albert Lea High School, the group that puts together the after-grad party. Rasmussen is also the treasurer and Thompson is also the secretary.

The after-grad party starts at about 9 p.m. the evening of commencement, and Thompson said it gives students downtime after graduation as well as a safe environment to have fun with their friends.

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For the past few years the party has been at City Arena, and Thompson said the party takes over the whole facility. Security is also important for the party, and parent volunteers make sure the graduates are accounted for when they are coming and leaving.

Thompson said this is the 26th year of the after-grad party, and is worked on all by parent volunteers, mostly parents of juniors and seniors.

The after-grad party is fueled by donations and volunteer time, and Thompson said the Parent Communication Network hasn’t had as many donations this year. According to Rasmussen, the party’s projected expense this year is about $8,000.

There are numerous committees that work on the after-grad party, such as committees for decorating, entertainment, registration and security.

Some of the activities graduates can participate in at this year’s after-grad party include an inflatable obstacle course, an inflatable jousting ring and a rock wall, which was supplied by the Army National Guard.

There is also a casino where graduates can play games and get chips, which can then be turned in for tickets. These tickets can be used to try and win prizes. Thompson said in the past these prizes have included tablets, televisions, radios and designer purses. Even if a graduate doesn’t win a prize, each attendee gets a Kwik Trip gas card.

There are also massage therapists who donate their time, a photo booth and caricature artists, Thompson said. Food is also served.

One popular aspect of the after-grad party is the hall of memories. Parents can submit a photo of their senior from kindergarten to second grade, and the graduates can then look through the photos and try to guess which photo depicts which of their classmates.

The grand finale is a hypnotist, Thompson said, who they have been using for a number of years now.

Thompson said the committee is working on setting up a fundraiser at Green Mill with vouchers. These vouchers will be available to the families of juniors and seniors at Albert Lea High School, and more details will be released after the fundraiser has been finalized.