Sober grad made more mysterious with surprise venue

For more than 20 years, the parents of Carmel High’s graduating class have put an exclusive all-night, senior-only event on graduation to keep students safe on what is statistically one of the most dangerous nights of their lives. Historically, the highly anticipated Sober Grad has been held in the gym—but not this year.

Because of planned construction on the gym bleachers—which were damaged during a basketball game with Pacific Grove last year—this year’s Sober Grad will be held in an undisclosed location approximately an hour away. But despite the move, construction on the bleachers will not take place this year as planned. Instead, Sober Grad for the class of 2016 will be impacted as well.

Unlike past years, fewer volunteers are needed—only 15 compared to the typical 40—as the mysterious event location will take care of practically everything, according to Suzanne Marden, Sober Grad communications chair et al. Although only 15 volunteers are needed, they must stay the whole night, from 9:45 to 5:30, rather than splitting the night into two shifts, like previous years.

Though generally excited, some seniors have concerns over the move in location. Still, most of their qualms relate specifically to the long drive.

“If it is somewhere super far away,” senior Julie Warner comments, “it would kind of suck because of the drive, but it might also be really fun if it is a super-cool venue.”

Venue chairperson Kim Crozier notes that local sites were considered; however, they could not accommodate all of the needs of the event, such as playing amplified music after 10:00 p.m. (forbidden in Carmel-by-the-Sea, as any student can tell you).

Crozier adds, “The [Sober Grad] committee is thrilled with the venue and can absolutely guarantee the seniors will have an exciting, super fun and memorable party.”

Despite the venue change, this year’s event is predicted to cost approximately $39,000, considerably less than last year’s estimated $55,000. Fortunately, with $4,000 in seed money from the Class of 2014 and several fundraising events, the Sober Grad Committee’s goal has been reached—meaning that, as always, there will be no cost to students.

Although the 2015 and 2016 Sober Grad nights may be unorthodox, they are not the first to be held off campus. In fact, according to former CHS teacher Jeffrey Wright, before 1993 similar events would be held at the Carmel Youth Center, where seniors could come and go as they pleased. Most notably, in 2008, students were bussed to the Port of San Francisco, where they then took a ferry to the USS Hornet in Alameda.

Class of 2008 graduate Emily Barr remarks, “It was a unique night, and I am not sure any other class since has gotten to do something similar, so, in that respect, it was great!”

Though the location change is a change from recent years, this year is in many ways like any other: at least in that the seniors have no idea what they are in for.

I don’t know what to expect…with the location,” senior Maddie McKenzie says, “but I am excited for whatever happens.”
-Delaney King