2018 Grad Night will go on despite difficulties

Class of 2017 grad night festivities. The class of 2017 had their grad night at a mf automobile museum (according to 2017 senior ana kelly) full of antique cars and activities.

Esquire photography

Class of 2017 grad night festivities. The class of 2017 had their grad night at a “mf automobile museum” (according to 2017 senior ana kelly) full of antique cars and activities.

Hannah Vogel, Editor-in-Chief/ Web Editor

On April 13, the parents of LBHS seniors received an email with the subject line: “IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM CLASS OF 2018 GRAD COMMITTEE.” The email disclosed how the party planner the committee hired had taken the deposit of roughly $17,000, planned no event and drained her business account. As the planner had been referred by last year’s grad night committee after a successful event, the news came as a shock.
For this year’s grad night, the committee had settled on a location called the “Arctic” and provided a deposit to secure the venue, buses, food and entertainment.
Though the committee has produced a new plan for Grad Night 2018, the deposits from families will not be reimbursed.
“We have made the next class aware of what happened to us,” said committee chair Beth Kruger. “In reality, when a business files bankruptcy, there is nothing we can do. We had no idea this would happen nor could we plan for it. We notified other local schools that this had happened, as the event planner had been used in prior years by other schools in the area, as well.”
The committee had planned out and paid for the majority of this year’s grad night at the end of the 2016-17 school year; however, in October 2017, the committee was told by the event planner that the venue they had initially paid for would not be available for the time they had requested it; additionally, the planner collected another $5,000 deposit to secure the food trucks. Despite the setback, the planner then assured the committee that she could secure an equally enticing venue called the “Hollywood Forever Cemetery.” The committee rejected that offer as they felt it was not appropriate for the event they had planned.
Another complication arose when the event planner informed the committee that she was having knee surgery and would be out of contact until mid-November/early December. The committee heard nothing from her throughout November, and finally, in mid-December, the committee was able to contact her partner who informed them that the event planner had a stroke and was not able to communicate.
“The home that we had met them at was now vacant, and we came to a realization that we might be in some trouble,” said the committee in their email. “After many calls, we found out that no venue, luxury buses, or food trucks had been booked. The money had been deposited into her business account, which we came to find out has been dissolved for many months now.”
After several months, the committee received a call from the woman, who could barely speak, and she provided the committee with misleading addresses and leads.
“We had a contract with her from the beginning; however, she never sent anything in mail or email stating whom she used,” said Kruger. “When you use an event planner, it is typical to not have all the vendors’ info. Again, this event planner did last year’s grad night, so we had no idea that she would do this.”
The committee has spoken with the police about what has happened; however, since the business assets have been dissolved, legal action is challenging.
Though the committee has lost out on $17,000, there is still around $48,000 to cover the pool party, the ceremony and grad night. Fortunately for this year’s graduating class, an LBHS parent who is in the event hosting business has called in favors using his connections.
Additionally, the committee wants to assure all students and parents that the 2018 Grad Night will still exceed expectations and be just as amazing as originally intended.