On Thursday night from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., West Hartford’s Hall High graduates celebrated in “HALLywood,” the theme of this year’s Safe Grad party.
By Gillian Hixson
Walking into the unrecognizable cafeteria at High High School, students strut down a red carpet lined with a stretch limo, photographers, and a cardboard cutout of Principal Dan Zittoun in a tuxedo. They get their photos taken, turn the corner, and instantly enter into “HALLywood.”
The Hall High cafeteria was transformed into “HALLywood” for one night in order for the brand new graduates to celebrate safely. Graduates are enticed to attend the event with prizes, games, and the promise of an unforgettable night.
This year’s Hall High Safe Grad consisted of a VIP lounge featuring blow-up furniture, an elegant fireplace, and a game show for students to participate in; giant versions of classic games like Jenga and Connect Four; a large dance floor equipped with a DJ and lights; prizes, such as flat screen televisions, gift cards, and monogrammed towels; a relaxation room screening movies; a dining area with every kind of food imaginable; massage chairs; airbrush tattoos; cellphone charging stations; a photo booth; and much more.
Lexy Davidoff, the head of the 25-person committee that planned and oversaw this year’s Safe Grad party, explained that the “HALLywood” theme was chosen at the first or second committee meeting in October. “We talked about what had been done in the past,” Davidoff said, “and looked in the dungeon [a storage space in the high school] for what we could repurpose.”
“We did a lot of repainting,” Davidoff said, pointing out different elements of the space and how they were used in past years.
An event of this caliber and size takes many people to be successful. Not only does the Safe Grad committee rely on parents to volunteer to run the event by signing up for chaperoning shifts, but decorating the space takes time, Davidoff pointed out.
“We had a lot of parents coming to pitch in,” Davidoff said, “We got parents to sign up electronically which was really helpful.” The efforts of parents and volunteers were evident, as the Hall cafeteria was unrecognizable.
The most common feedback the Safe Grad committee gets is to offer more seating for students, Davidoff said. Her and her team tried to combat this complaint by ensuring there was seating in the VIP Lounge, the relaxation room, and a diner-style seating area where the food was served.
Another defining detail of the night was the prizes. “Many of the prizes were donated,” Davidoff explained. “Seventy-five percent of the graduates get a prize I would say.”
Though a raffle winner was drawn periodically throughout the night, each student walked out at the end of the party with a blue, monogrammed towel boasting their alma mater’s name. The largest raffle prizes – the flat screen televisions for instance – are left until the very end of the party, around 4 a.m., to provide incentive for the graduates to stay until the end.
A new addition to this year’s party included three cellphone charging stations, which were donated by the parents of a future Hall High student. To use the charging station, you open up one of the small compartments, plug in your phone to the corresponding charger, close and lock the compartment door, and take the key with you.
Each key is unique to its compartment, so there is no worry of a phone being stolen, Davidoff explained. And, if someone loses the key, there were spares available.
Davidoff explained the different groups that contributed to the success of the night, such as the flocking committee, the food committee, and the raffle committee.
This year’s Safe Grad party was a success, thanks to the many committee members, volunteers, and parents.
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