Resident Feature

A History of SRVHS Grad Night

Grad Night, a night like no other. There are not many days in one’s life quite like that of Graduation Day of High School! Emotions of all sorts run through the graduate’s mind. There is sadness at the end of an era, excitement for the beginnings of a new journey, and all out joy of the freedom they feel. The culmination of these emotions combined with warm weather, celebrations of friendships new and old, and pride of their accomplishment, can cause even the most experienced to make decisions they know are not good or responsible. These split-second decisions made under the celebratory graduation chaos can have lifelong impacts on themselves, their friends, and their families. 

That is why Grad Night was created. Way ahead of its’ time, in 1978, SRV PTSA, has proudly hosted Grad Night, a “Safe and Sober” graduation celebration for the entire Senior Class. Their objective is to provide 500+ graduates with a fun-filled environment to celebrate a major milestone with their friends. Prior to the “Safe and Sober” Grad Night program, the Highway Patrol reported that there were many unsupervised parties where alcohol was consumed. Many of these parties resulted in alcohol-related crashes, injuries and death. John Muir, as the only trauma center in Contra Costa County, saw first-hand the results of some of the decisions graduates made. Seeing those trauma victims resulted in the The Highway Patrol developing a “Safe and Sober Grad Night” program in 1985, 7 years AFTER SRVHS. Their statistics show that the number of young drivers involved in alcohol-related collisions during the month of June has declined dramatically. 

What does that mean for us? It means we have a place to send our graduates so they can celebrate with their friends in a safe location with supervision and over-the-top activities, music, decorations, and creativity! What a Magical Night it is! The concept for the seniors’ Grad Night is conjured up by parents when their teens are only freshman. This core group of creative leaders keep secrets while they plan and urge other parents to join in on the big Grad Night secret theme. As the core creative team grows, so does the plotting, planning, designing and building. Teens think they can keep secrets, but none can keep a secret like this volunteer group of dedicated parentals!! They are magical. These parents are givers of time, energy, love and dedication. They are out-of-the-box thinkers, painters, musicians, bakers, contractors, and engineers that have no limits to what they can design and whom they can get to support their cause. Truly, they are our angels, keeping our graduates safe, while demonstrating that the best of nights can be had “Safe and Sober”. 

The SRV PTSA has had many themes over the years, such as, Born in the USA, Turn it Up World Tour, Gradfest and Western Rodeo. June 2020, the year of the COVID Pandemic, was the only year, in the SRV Grad Night history, to have their magical night cancelled. 

Grad Night at SRV takes place on campus. The campus is transformed by 100’s of parents and community volunteers. They plan, construct and paint throughout the senior year and move all items to a donated top-secret location. Hours and hours of planning and thought go into every detail. When the transformation is taking place, the theme remains unknown to anyone outside of these Parental Angels! There is a community preview and walk-through held on the day of Grad Night, in the afternoon, for friends, family and spectators. 

The first time you go to a Grad Night preview, YOU WILL BE IN AWE. The number of people, local businesses, and community support that goes into the SRV PSTA Grad Night is unbelievable. The parents and community alike volunteer their time, support with donations, support with heavy discounts, and support with good old fashion cash! It takes a village! 

Do you want to know the 2022 Grad Night theme? Come check it out for yourself on Friday, June 3rd, in the afternoon on the San Ramon Valley High School Campus!!

By Lynne Harrosh, Resident since 2008