After receiving diplomas and throwing their columbia blue caps in the air, the new graduates will pile into their cars and make their way back to SME for a night of music, casino games and saying goodbye to the entire senior class for one last hurrah before college.
The after graduation party has not only been an East tradition since the mid-1990’s, but has spread to all high schools in the district to ensure an exciting, safe night for all graduates.
According to senior PTA member Angie Dunbar, in past years, about 98% of the senior class has attended the party, and this year their goal is to get all 430 seniors to attend the casino night themed celebration.
For fundraisers, the PTA has organized Kendra Scott Jewelry night on April 11, Chipotle night on April 17, Spruce Home Decor night on April 25-26 and Foo’s Frozen Custard night on April 27, where a portion of the proceeds will go towards the party funds. They will also be sending out a school wide email for donations. In addition, the Mayor of Leawood, Peggy Dunn has teamed up with the PTA to donate a set amount of money per senior that lives in the city.
With the money, they are able to cater Papa John’s Pizza, Sheridan’s Frozen Custard and Dunkin’ Donuts with discounted prices. They also purchase various prizes to win during the casino games, ranging from flat-screen TVs to dorm room accessories.
“Seniors will definitely remember this,” Dunbar said. “For some, [the party] may be the last time that they’re together with their entire senior class in the same place, so we want to make it a memorable night for everyone.”
In recent years, the party has concluded well into the night with empty trays filling the tables, all of the prizes won and hundreds of seniors scattered around the gym swaying and belting out the words to the school song for one last time together.