Marana High School is joining the roster of Northwest high schools holding a graduation-night party for seniors.

MHS Grad Night 2009 is being held May 20, the night of graduation.

Monica Sutton, Pam Moseley and Tina Laulusa are working “with lots of other people” to make the event happen, Sutton said.

“They tried to get it going last year,” but couldn’t pull it off, Sutton said. “It takes a lot to put on.”

“We’ve decided this is something we really, really want to try,” Sutton said. “It’s hard to get it to come together, and it’s difficult in this economy.”

Several Marana parents visited Project Graduation organizers associated with Mountain View, Canyon Del Oro, Flowing Wells and Ironwood Ridge high schools “to get a feel” for the event. “They’re all very nice and helpful,” Sutton said. “They gave us copies of their notes. We’ve looked at everybody’s stuff and come up with ideas.”

The work began by forming a parent-teacher organization, which provides tax-exempt status for a graduation party. Now comes the party preparation, with a need for money, volunteers and donations, along with the need to persuade graduating seniors that this is the best choice for the evening.

“We’re trying to get the students excited,” Sutton said. “The first year is the hardest, getting them to buy in that it’s a fun thing.”

Organizers have one big anchor prize, a vehicle, donated by Jim Click and Toby Bourguet. It’ll be given away that night. Bourguet is a salesman for Jim Click, and is a  Marana High School alumnus and a supporter of the community, Sutton said.

There’ll be a band or disc jockey, games such as inflatable obstacle courses and climbing walls, plenty of food and a casino-style venue. Prizes and give-aways are a big part of the celebration.

Sutton is the parent of a sophomore.

“We don’t want parents of seniors to have to work it, we would like parents of underclassmen to work it, with the idea when you have a senior, you can step back” that year to celebrate time with a graduate, family and friends. “It would be so nice if we make it a success and keep it going as a tradition,” Sutton said.

The event has a budget of $40,000. The committee needs donations, cash and about 100 volunteers.

Sutton can be reached at 579-0294, or by e-mail at Tina Laulusa can be reached at 579-3833, or people may e-mail

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