WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Williams High School class of 2016 will graduate soon and a group of parents is planning a special event where the students can safely celebrate.
The Parents Who Care group is organizing the 8th annual Senior Grad Night to provide an alcohol and drug free environment for students to celebrate.
Grad Night Chairwoman Velvet Garlington said graduation is one of the most important nights of students' lives.
"We want to entertain them and entice them to stay together all night," she said.
The event will take place after graduation May 27 from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
"So far we have enough money for food and entertainment," Garlington said. "But we need to raise money for the raffle and prizes to encourage the kids to stay all night and not go out and drink."
The annual Grad Night began after five Williams teenagers were killed in a car accident in Sept 2007. Alcohol and drugs were determined to be a cause of the accident.
The Parents Who Care group formed after the event. The goal for the group is to support and protect the seniors on the first night that begins the rest of their lives.
Past groups raised enough money for items such as iPads, computers, TVs and cameras to be given to the students.
"The seniors who stay all night will be eligible for the prizes," Garlington said.
Parents Who Care has raised $7,000, far short of the $18,000 to $35,000 that has been raised in past years. Garlington hopes the community has not forgotten how important the event is for the seniors.
"We really need the community's help in keeping our seniors
safe and providing them with a wonderful night," Garlington said. "We would love to get them some flat screen TVs, maybe a laptop, some tablets and some gift cards. We want to make sure that nobody leaves empty-handed."
Parents Who Care has several fundraising events lined up prior to graduation. A 270 Savage, 111 Model rifle is being raffled for $10 per ticket. The drawing will take place May 2 at 6 p.m. at the Williams Recreation Center.
An enchilada pre-sale in going on now for $15 per dish. The enchiladas will be distributed April 15.
The senior class is putting on a car wash April 23 from noon to 4 p.m. Students will accept donations for their service.
Tickets are on sale for a quilt raffle handmade by alumni Vickie Vega-Migdalene. The drawing will take place April 29th.
High school senior Joe Howe is organizing an alumni dinner-dance at Williams High School April 29 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The dinner-dance is a fundraiser and community outreach event.
"I'm doing this to try to get the community back involved with the school," Howe said. "We will have posters of some of the alumni. We'll pull out the old trophies, bring out the old cheerleading uniforms and some jerseys. We want to do something more for the alumni other than just homecoming. We want to do as much as possible to put a positive spin back on our school."
Anyone interested in participating in the raffles or donating to Grad Night can contact Jocelyn Pawlicki at (928) 856-0857 or email the group at email@example.com.
"The group is a 501c nonprofit and any donations are tax deductible," Garlington said.