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HHS After Party Preparations

Herndon High School parents and volunteers have been working hard to prepare for the upcoming after-prom and after-graduation parties.

Although prom is scheduled for June 4, volunteers and local businesses are still needed to help with the event, in addition to the after-graduation party.

Prepared in conjunction with the HHS Drug and Alcohol Free Activities committee, the event is provided for through fund raising, donations from parents and from local businesses and local government.

In addition, local restaurants, private businesses, churches, HHS pyramid PTAs, the Town of Herndon, Virginia State Police, Reston Hospital, movie theaters, amusement parks, the bowling alley and the Herndon Dulles Chamber of Commerce donate everything from money — totaling close to $5,000 — to gift certificates to be given as prizes.

Initiated almost 18 years ago, Herndon's all-night grad party has given students a place to go. Since its inception there have not been any student accidents or losses directly related to unsupervised after-graduation parties.

Although time consuming to plan — it takes about four months and 100 volunteers to pull everything together for the after-prom party — these events give students something to look forward to.

"These events are costly," said Becky Field-Ross, HHS parent and PTA member, "but well worth the expense to keep our children safe on these important nights."

Most food and drink for the event is donated by local restaurants and parents.

Field-Ross said the all-night grad party takes almost eight months to plan with 150 volunteers.

This year, both events are scheduled to have a variety of activities including music, temporary tattoos, video games and big blow up activities.

THE AFTER-PROM party will be held at the Reston Community Center and the after-graduation party will be held at the Reston YMCA this year because the Herndon Community Center is undergoing renovations.

"Events like these are very important because students don't have other safe places to hang out and have a good time," said Field-Ross. "So, they go to parties that are unattended by adults."

In most cases these parties have been found to have illegal activities, are unsafe and when they are over, students will get behind the wheel to go home — sometimes not a smart decision.

"By offering after-prom and all-night graduation celebrations," she said, "we are offering these same kids a chance to have a fun and safe time."

Tickets to the after-prom event are offered to all students, even those not attending prom so that no one is left out.

The all-night grad party is for seniors who walk on the day of graduation.

"These students have worked hard for the past 13 years in school," said Field-Ross. "At [all-night grad] we 'pamper' the students."

During the night, through the sponsorship of the Herndon Optimist Club, casino tables are set up for the students while parents carry trays of food and drinks around, waiting on the students.

Caricature artists, massage therapists, photographers, rides and games are offered, among other things.

For more information or to volunteer, call 703-435-3847 or e-mail fieldross@aol.com.