Committee works to make Sober Grad reality

This spring, CHS students and parents have come together to create the fundraising efforts necessary for Sober Grad Night to be a success for this year’s graduating seniors.

This has resulted in a series of fundraisers put on by the Sober Grad Committee, the formal nonprofit body in charge of coordinating the fundraisers and the Sober Grad event itself, according to Larry Hayes, the committee’s fundraising and communications coordinator.

For at least the past 20 years, Sober Grad is an event that has been happening annually the night after graduation, according to Hayes, and Sober Grad Committee co-chair Gerard Mattimoe stresses its importance.

“Sober Grad prevents our graduates from drinking and driving,” Mattimoe says. “This keeps the graduates and the community safe on graduation night, which is statistically the most dangerous night of a student’s life.”

The largest of these fundraising events is the Holman Ranch Food Fest, which, as of this paper’s printing, was scheduled to take place Thursday.

“April 7 at Holman Ranch [was] our 21-plus event, and [it was] our major fundraiser,” Mattimoe says of the event. “We [had] live music from Johan Sotelo from ‘American Idol.’ Local award-winning chefs [prepared] food and the silent auction [included] everything from hotel stays to personal training and even a tour of an exclusive private car museum.”

According to the sponsor information pamphlet put out by the Committee, they were aiming to get at least 200 people attending the event to raise the majority of the $45,000 needed to make Sober Grad Night a reality.

Hayes explains the factors behind the high expenses.

“The actual cost per student is gonna be around $225 for this mystery party that we’re throwing,” he says. “That includes transportation and everything else. But it’s gonna be free, and we think we will hit the mark to be able to not only pay for that but leave a partial legacy for future classes. That’s how optimistic we are.”

There are still other major Sober Grad fundraisers, called restaurant nights, which put a portion of the profits raised toward the Sober Grad fund. The latest of these was at Turn 12 restaurant in Monterey, where the CHS teacher-composed Bubba Pickens band and two student bands provided live entertainment.

“There will also be an event at Vesuvio [in Carmel] on April 27,” adds CHS senior Jess Plink, a student representative for the Sober Grad Committee.

While these events mostly apply to adults, students can still contribute to the Sober Grad effort.

“We encourage seniors to volunteer at the event because they need volunteers to help run [it] and make it possible,” Plink says. “Not only will they be getting community service, but also helping the efforts towards Sober Grad.”

And anybody can make donations through the Sober Grad website, located on the CHS homepage at carmelhigh.org.

“It’s the tradition that we want to make sure everybody realizes they’re supporting,” Hayes says, “not just an annual event for one class.”
-Ari Freedman