Graduations, followed by parties in NW
Explorer file photo, During last year’s Ironwood Ridge High School graduation party, Lauren Fritzsche attempts to stay on a surfboard — much like one does a mechanical bull. Schools all across the Northwest will hold graduations and parties next week.

Next week, high school students flip their tassels from one side of their mortarboards to the other, and toss the hats into their air.

And, for the second year in a row, Marana students then make their way to their Grad Night party.

For several years, high schools throughout Tucson have been holding lock-in safe parties for graduating seniors. For Marana High School graduates, last year was the first with the tradition.

Monica Sutton is facilitating the event, chairing the decorations committee and helping on the donations committee, all of them putting together the Hollywood Night-themed party for the graduating Marana seniors.

"Our biggest problem last year was getting kids to buy into it," Sutton said. "We had to cancel it a couple of times and get the kids behind us to get it back in place. I believe today we have around 130 students that are signed up and paid and ready to come, where as last year at this point it was around 60."

Sutton has been surprised with the donations from both families and businesses. People have been giving what they can, and that has helped.

Traditionally, Grad Night parties have a secret grand prize, but to help entice students to attend the celebration, organizers have let the students know about the prizes.

"At first we could not get a car, so we decided to redo our budget and our grand prize is 2010 dollars," Sutton said. "They can use it for college, a car or whatever they want. And just four days ago we got a call from Jim Click and they are giving us a car. So we have a '99 Ford Mustang.

"So we have two grand prizes," she added.

The Marana party is still looking for volunteers to help during the evening and the following morning to help clean up. If you are interested, you can contact Monica Sutton at 401-4000.

Canyon Del Oro's graduation night party theme is British Invasion, Ironwood Ridge's theme is Backstage Pass, and Mountain View's theme is Disney.

High School Graduations

Canyon Del Oro High School May 18, 7:30 p.m.

Ironwood Ridge High School May 19, 7 p.m.

Mountain View High School May 19, 8 p.m.

Marana High School May 20, 8 p.m.

Pusch Ridge Christian Academy May 28, 7 p.m. at Casas Church 10801 N. La Cholla Boulevard

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