SMASH, NOT SMASHED - The “dry” Grad Night festivities at Los Gatos High School on Friday featured a series of activities, such as 9 Square in the Air, which were organized into six different destinations, from the Amazon to Casablanca. Seniors had to get their passport stamped at each to be eligible for a grand prize. (Jonathan Natividad / Los Gatan)

On Friday, the theme of the drugs-and-alcohol-free “Grad Night” was finally revealed.

Los Gatos High School seniors were ushered into a wonderland based on the concept of “Take Flight,” where they could party all night in a safe environment while “flying” to six different locales—Austin, Texas; the moon; the Amazon; Casablanca, Morocco; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Hawaii.

“It was amazing,” said Varily Isaacs, one of the event chairs, commenting on the ideal weather conditions. “It was just a perfect night.”

The Senior Museum showcased collages of students, such as this one of Anthony Andrews. (Jonathan Natividad / Los Gatan)

The evening had kicked off with an uplifting graduation ceremony, broadcast on local access channel KCAT.

“There was definitely a theme of gratitude, of thanking the people around you,” said Isaacs, who watched her son Hayden graduate.

remote control car race
The remote control racetrack was one of the attractions in “Monte Carlo.” (Jonathan Natividad / Los Gatan)

One of the most touching moments was when the parents of Iril Asting, who was recently killed in a vehicular collision overseas, accepted a diploma on her behalf, she added.

The fragility of life highlighted during the event emphasized the importance of the “dry” all-night rager set for the proceeding hours.

This year, 493 students out of 530 seniors (93%) purchased tickets for Grad Night.

They were welcomed at a check-in counter by teachers dressed up as flight attendants and pilots.

Each student received a passport, which they had to get stamped at each far-flung point if they wanted to have a chance to win the grand prize.

In total, it took approximately 1,200 volunteers to make the immersive spectacle a reality.

Racers lift their arms as they shoot down the giant slide. (Jonathan Natividad / Los Gatan)

“Pulling off Grad Night for your high school seniors, it’s a privilege,” Isaacs said. “It does take a village.”

Mentalist David Stryker astounded with his magician-level antics.

There were four registered nurses and two doctors among the volunteers, in case medical assistance was needed.

As always, the teacher band serenaded revelers as dawn broke, bursting into a rendition of “Here Comes the Sun,” by the Beatles.

“From sibling to sibling, they pass on this moment,” Isaacs said.

*An earlier version of the post misidentified Anthony Andrews

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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