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Guest Column: ECHS Casino Night Fundraiser Aims to Send Graduating Seniors to Disneyland

Reader Karen Shebek writes that the fundraiser will include disco, salsa dancing, shopping and a sports lounge — all to benefit sending El Cerrito High School students to Disneyland for Grad Night.

By Karen Shebek

On March 9, the El Cerrito Community Center will become a hotspot for dancing and dining to benefit the students of El Cerrito High School.

The event called "The Event" will raise funds to send El Cerrito High School seniors to Disneyland for Grad Night, and will include a raffle and live and silent auctions.

Because having one dancing theme is boring, The Event has two: salsa and disco. Unleash your inner Sofia Vergara or Donna Summer, allowing you to remember how it felt to be young and free in the 70s (though we're sure you weren't even born then), or older and suaver in Latin America (even if you've
never actually been there). Go ahead and dress up like a disco queen/king or like Shakira. It's all good.

Since dancers can work up a mighty thirst, The Event will provide a no-host bar that features beer and wine, along with 70s favorite gin and tonic and a house sangria (and by "house" we mean that it was made at somebody's house).

Yes, there's really nothing better than dressing up, dancing with wild abandon, and sipping atasty themed beverage – unless, of course, you don't dance. Many folks would prefer a lengthy,unmedicated dental procedure to an evening of dressed-up salsa and/or disco dancing (though they may not object to a tasty themed beverage). They want to support the worthy youth of El Cerrito High
School, and perhaps even public education in general, but not at the cost of their dignity.

To address this conundrum, The Event will provide a special space for non-dancers: a "sports lounge" that includes a pool table, Foosball, sports videos, and easily accessible smokehouse almonds and beer.

The live and silent auctions will feature a variety items for the home, your pet, entertainment, local services and classes, local lodging and dining. New this year, our high school seniors are forming groups to auction services like babysitting, kid party help and more and other items related to the school like
signed jerseys or performing arts posters.

Prizes include SF Giants tickets, a GoPro Action Camera, and a $250 American Express gift card.

Your ticket price will also cover tempting finger-foods along the lines of the 70s, salsa and sports lounge… parent volunteers are coming up with ideas like BBQ sliders, mini tacos, mini-quiches, etc.

Whether you prefer to dress up for dancing or dress down for shooting some pool, come to The Event and support ECHS! It's a fun night out for a good cause. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.

To buy tickets or for more information about your business making a tax deductible donation, email Beth Crespan at vlek@pacbell.net, or call 510-526-5844.

sherry February 21, 2013 at 10:30 PM
What ever happened to ECHS Grad Nite? That was a great tradition for the grads to stay safe and have a fabulous time. That is something they will remember more than Disneyland.
karen February 22, 2013 at 06:44 PM
It was a wonderful tradition which requires a bandwidth of volunteers that our current families have been unable to offer; there were some logistical issues as well. Disneyland was an older tradition as well- there were lessons learned from the first re-visit to Disneyland; since then the overnight bus rides and full day spent with their classmates at Disneyland provide the graduates with a different kind of memory.
Susan February 22, 2013 at 11:32 PM
As a parent who was on the committees for both my kids' grad nights, 2005 and 2002, I will say that the amount of time spent on constructing the site that used to be in the gym was an overwhelming amount of hours. 2002 grad night was in the gym; 2005 was at the Albany racetrack as the gym was being demolished. I remember the fundraising efforts (that has not changed, I am sure) but the amount of physical hours to construct the actual site was overwhelming. It takes a certain group of parents who want to plan, build, get materials, etc. for an event like that. I agree it was a fabulous thing, and many community people volunteered also, but maybe Disneyland offers the same fun time. I would just hope that NO STUDENTS are held back from Disneyland because they don't have the money to go. Grad night admission used to be about $50, back in 2002-05. I hope the price for the Disneyland grad night is not so high that some kids don't get to go.

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