Above The Influence

More than 180 recent Jamestown High School graduates got a healthy dose of fun and education during an after party Friday night, which showed them that they don’t need to drink to enjoy themselves.

After the JHS graduates celebrated their graduation at a commencement ceremony held at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater, many of them headed to Jefferson Middle School to have an after party from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Activities were held all night long, including a karaoke contest, line dancing, a rap battle, laser tag, cornhole, spikeball, can jam, a dodgeball tournament, video racing, minute to win it, a photobooth, food and breakfast. A money machine, which allowed students to step inside and grab as much fake money as possible during a short period of time, had a winner each hour. A videographer and photographer were also present to document the evening.

According to Lori Johnson, event organizer who is part of the games and prizes committee, the event was planned by more than 20 parents of JHS seniors who have been meeting since September. The idea stemmed from an article written by Sheriff Joe Gerace about the Stop DWI program. One of the things that Gerace said was that he thought that bars should provide a free non-alcoholic drink to designated drivers.

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“It got us thinking about the Stop DWI program, and how important is to let kids know that you can still go out and have a good time but not drink alcohol,” said Johnson. “So, we worked with the Sheriff’s department, who has given us pledge cards, for when the kids come and sign in they will sign the card to say that they will not drink and drive. Their pledge card will then go into a drawing, which will be for an IPad.”

The event featured bartenders from Applebee’s, as well as several JHS teachers, who made the students non-alcoholic mixed drinks to demonstrate that when they go out they don’t need to drink to have fun.

“Applebee’s and several teachers stepped up and said that they would be willing to come provide drinks for the kids,” said Johnson. “The kids voted on their favorite non-alcoholic drink, and the winning pair will get a t-shirt that states they were at the top of the leaderboard at the after-grad party. They were there from 11 p.m. to midnight to support the Stop DWI program in hopes that the kids will realize that there are fun drinks you can have when you get old enough to go out to the bars.”

Another aspect of the party was to impact underage drinking by demonstrating that socializing and drinking don’t have to be one-in-the-same.

“We know the socializing effect is there and that a drink in the hand while socializing may go hand-in-hand,” said Johnson. “So, if you’re smart enough to go out and socialize with your friends and have a non-alcoholic drink you can go to a bar that offers 18 and above. Even if you go to a party at a friends house it’s fun to come up with your own non-alcoholic drink that you could serve to all your friends to show that you can still sit back and have a good time.”

Various prizes were also awarded during the evening. Plus, everyone who participated in the event went home with a gift card and a JHS blanket that read, Jamestown High School Class of 2013.”

“Everyone walked away with a memorable gift from their evening,” said Johnson.