The 2008 Grad Night theme was, as in previous years, a mix between tropical paradise and classical pirate hideout, with signs giving dire warnings of doom, such as, “All ye are lost souls.”

Grad Night caps year for seniors

Grad Night caps year for seniors


The 2008 Grad Night theme was, as in previous years, a mix between tropical paradise and classical pirate hideout, with signs giving dire warnings of doom, such as, “All ye are lost souls.”

Despite how cheesy that might sound, the old gym was totally transformed and looked really good. It was all very tastefully done, in fact, even down to the bathrooms.

To enter the gym, the graduating seniors had to climb a ladder and walk the plank. Below the plank, which was about 10 feet above the ground, was a large mat to ensure there would be no broken bones.


After jumping off the plank, the first thing seniors saw were piles of sand and a beverage booth constructed of old wine barrels. Coffee and slushies were served, and then a multitude of activities were available for the rest of the night.

Among the more intriguing indoor playground activities at the event, was a Velcro suit to don, which stuck its wearer to a Velcro wall after he or she leapt thither; a bucking surfboard for the sure-footed; big wheel racing tricycles, and a live foosball table-soccer match. Guitar Hero was also available, as were many other video games.

Once the seniors actually entered the gym, they could play blackjack with authentic dealers, tables, and chips, all donated for the night by the Chumash Casino. There also were henna tattooists and opportunities to pose for a caricature artist. Most of the seniors participated in these two activities, while only a few took advantage of the karaoke machine. Those who did, including Jake Shaeffer, Jeff Rosecrance, Justin Iniguez, Veronica Garcia, and Jessie Burnside-Clapp, did so with memorable skill.


After about an hour, a magician started his show and all the seniors gathered ’round. He started with basic card tricks, moved on to rope tricks, and ended by juggling a bowling ball, a torch, and a machete, all while standing on a board placed on a tube. He also called up a few seniors from the crowd to help him.

Justin Iniguez was tricked into thinking a deck of card disappeared, when really the magician was simply throwing them over his head. Anthony Clark was part of a complex hat-juggling demonstration that had the audience in fits of laughter. But perhaps the most looked-forward-to entertainment was the hypnotist. He came around 2 a.m., and everyone, including the monitors, gathered together to watch.

He began with a few basic exercises aimed at determining who was capable of being hypnotized.


The first included making all the seniors close their eyes, and then he just started to talk and said things like, “Now you’re eyelids are getting heavier, they’re 10 times heavier,” and kept repeating.

When he was done, he told everyone to try to open their eyes, and those who couldn’t were the ones he was looking for to participate in his show.

He initially picked 14 seniors: Michael Gonzalez, Katy Rhoades, Evan Reed, Riley Gauld, Blake DuBois, Justin Iniguez, Siobhan Shinn, James Marzullo, Colleen Dugan, Diana Martinez, Zach Andrews, Brittany Walsh, Garrett Humphreys, and Nittu Singh. Five ended up not being susceptible enough (DuBois, Marzullo, Dugan, Martinez and Singh), but they were replaced by three from the crowd.


These three seniors were very susceptible to hypnosis and did everything the hypnotist said, even though he wasn’t touching them in order to make the connection stronger. Kayla Shaefer was the first to be called up when she started to freeze because he said it was getting really cold, and then Cody Linton was instructed to stay in his seat but sing “Happy Birthday, Morgan” every time the hypnotist said “happy.”

Finally, Michael Gregg was told to come up and participate in the demonstration as well. The show lasted until 4:30 a.m., and had the audience laughing the entire time. Shaefer and Humphrys were told to be the Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote and ran around the room making the appropriate noises; Gauld led the group in a YMCA exercise show, Michael Gregg was convinced he was pop singer Beyonce; Reed kept losing his girlfriend (who was, in reality, a broom); and all the girls participated in a Mr. America contest. It was extremely entertaining, and by far the most memorable event of the night.


At the end of the night, the big prize raffle was conducted. All the seniors had placed their tickets in the chest next to the prize they wanted, the most popular being the iPod touch and a 19-inch HD TV. All the smaller prizes — everyone received one — had been given away, and the seniors were eagerly anticipating the bigger winners.

Jeff Rosecrance won the TV, Audrey Roark won the iPod touch, Devon Bolitho won the MacBook, Daniel Fullmer won skydiving tickets (much to his mother’s dismay), and Emily Cota won the beach cruiser. There were many more prizes, many more lucky seniors, and overall it was an amazing night to end a whole class’s amazing high school adventure.