HomeCommunity NewsVolunteers Gearing Up for Grad Night Redux

Volunteers Gearing Up for Grad Night Redux

Photo courtesy Claudia Boles
Grad Night chairs are (front row, from left) Nicolette Fuerst and Alice Song Ulrich. Back: Cynthia Ary and Kim Sutherland.

The annual Grad Night light pp, where the community is invited to preview the impressive sets, will not be held this year due to the limitations brought on by COVID-19.
“It’s going to be 80% of what most people would expect of Grad Night,” said San Marino High School principal Jason Kurtenbach. “It may look a little different but there are going to be some really great things going on. What is most important is that the kids will all be together and they will be able to celebrate together.”
Grad Night will follow what Kurtenbach and his fellow administrators are planning as an outdoor graduation at Titan Stadium on Friday, May 28, which will be attended by approximately 1,000, including graduates, spectators, teachers and staff members.
This year’s Grad Night event, with its spirited “Circus, The Greatest Show on Earth” theme, will deliver the usual festivities that include dinner, magician, hypnotist, game booths, and casino tables as well as “a few surprises,” according to event chair Cynthia Ary and co-chairs Nicolette Fuerst, Alice Song Ulrich and Kim Sutherland, all who are parents of graduating seniors.
“This past year really has been a ‘circus’ as we were facing unchartered waters,” said Ary, herself an SMHS graduate. “We’re so grateful that our seniors will be able to enjoy this celebratory tradition.”
Since being given the green light only a couple of months ago to get started on Grad Night, preparations have been conducted at lightning speed, thanks to a committed group of parent and community volunteers.
“It’s crunch time, and we’re now down to the wire,” said Fuerst, who is the business co-chair. “Construction for this year’s event has been condensed from a period of several months to just several weeks.”
The 2021 Grad Night Committee praised the “Old Guard,” a group of dedicated locals, most of whom are parents of former SMHS graduates, for their talents and ability to design and construct elaborate, decorative sets that make this a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Following a year of gloom, there was a special effort to make the event uplifting.
“The year’s event will be a vibrant, fun, and colorful vintage circus,” said Song Ulrich, the creative co-chair.
“Almost the entire Class of 2021 is expected to be there,” said Sutherland, the co-chair of creative efforts. “The students are looking forward to reuniting again under positive circumstances following a year of social isolation.”
Ary, Fuerst and Sutherland bring to the table additional experience as graduates of San Marino High School and having attended their own Grad Nights.
As he has for the duration of the pandemic, Kurtenbach is optimistic about the return of one of the community’s jewels.
“I think that they will feel like we are almost completely normal,” he said. “To be honest with you, by the time Grad Night rolls around there might be more things that we will be allowed to do. But that will take care of itself.”


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