‘Chem-free’ grad party taking shape

Bryce Forbes

After prom took place Saturday night, Fort High grads next can look forward to the annual “chem-free” grad party, which will be held on the night of their graduation.
While the students may look forward to the event, it’s the parents who are the driving force behind the night.
“We have a really good parent group,” said Brian Gustafson, a teacher at Fort High and member of the organizing committee.
“They have been busy going out for sponsorship and donations from different groups and businesses,” he noted.
“They got food planning underway, game planning underway.”
Currently in the 11th year in this format, Gustafson said laser tag will return for a second year, as well as old favourites like air bounce and other games.
He also said there was talk of a MuchMusic dance party being hosted thanks to Subway.
With the event open to all fourth-year students, Gustafson expects about 140 kids to partake in the festivities, or around 75 percent of the possible students.
Gustafson said the support is strong among the “keener” students.
“You’ll get some kids who it’s not for them,” he reasoned. “But the ones that want to go will go and once they are there, they will have a great time.
“The comments after make their way back to school through different channels about how good it is, how memorable it is,” added Gustafson.
“So in the end, it’s worth the effort.”
The parents typically are the driving force behind the event, with the kids helping in fundraising and designing the T-shirts everyone who attends will get.
The budget for whole night is around $15,000, noted Gustafson, with $5,000 coming from area businesses and another $3,650 raised at different events like Tag Day, Spring Fever Days, and the Home and Leisure Show.
Students also pay $25 for a ticket.
“It’s all bits and pieces, but it all ties up at the end,” said Gustafson.
Held at the Memorial Sports Centre, Gustafson said it’s a nice enclosed area where they can keep the kids safe.
“When I was in school, we had it up at Sunny Cove,” he remarked. “Nothing truly bad happened, but there was some stuff that probably shouldn’t have been going on.
“The nice thing about the arena is that it is nice and contained,” added Gustafson. “We have security at the doors.
“That’s why you need all those volunteers just to make it all go smooth.”
He said around 50 parent volunteers help keep the night safe.