Celebration in Jeopardy, Kind Of

The BHS Post-Prom Committee Quickly Recovers From Alarmingly Low Funds

Margo Silliman, Staff Writer

There’s no question about the importance of Celebration at BHS. The annual event takes place after prom and goes all night. It’s a staple in student life and the perfect way to end senior year. It started more than 20 years ago (after a group of students got into an accident after prom) as a way to make sure students go somewhere safe, yet fun, after the dance.

All Barnstable High School seniors are allowed in for free. And if they go to prom, their out-of-school or non-senior prom dates are also admitted without cost.

With the total amount of money that the Celebration committee spent on the event last year coming out to be more than $30,000, the bulk of the budget was put toward prizes, activities, and entertainment like a hypnotist, according to the organization’s treasurer, Bonnie Stanley. And that money doesn’t include everything that was donated, such as 90 percent of the food.

Celebration usually receives generous donations from Hyannis Honda, Joyce Landscaping, the Enoch Cobb grant, and Country Gardens, said Miriam Loiselle, one of the lead volunteers on the Celebration committee. She added, “numerous other local businesses also donate, either with services or money.”

The committee raises a lot of money through fundraising. They collect recyclables at the dump that are exchanged for money at the redemption center; they have a corporate mailing list that they use to ask many local businesses for donations; they also receive money from church collections at Our Lady of Victory, Our Lady of Assumption, and Our Lady of Hope.

However, despite having left more money than usual after last year’s event, the committee was very concerned at the beginning of this year because of the low attendance at committee meetings prior to January. In a letter that went out to the Barnstable community through email and Facebook, Loiselle said, “Thus far, this year’s meetings have had two or three people at them along with a few people working on some sub committees behind the scenes. This certainly is not enough support to plan Celebration which is less than five months away.”

The rest of the letter explained fears for the future of Celebration, going as far as to say they may need to determine where to give the leftover funds for this year’s event, and that future Celebrations could also be canceled since the committee “would have difficulty maintaining the contracts and community support we have secured for the past 22 years.”

But response to Loiselle’s letter was tremendous, as she then exclaimed at the committee meeting on Jan. 18 that the organization had more volunteers than ever before, with more than 80 parents showing up. This makes both fundraising and the event in May seem promising.

The parent volunteers are organizing a comedy night on March 3, where people can sponsor the event by donating money, participate in the silent auction, and enjoy comedians Mike Murray and Bill Simas. It’s from 7 to 11 p.m. that Saturday at the Cape Codder Resort.

Also, the senior class treasurer, Nora Canaday, set up a GoFundMe that will give proceeds to Celebration. As of Insight’s press deadline, almost $3,000 had been raised. Canaday went into action after speaking to many fellow seniors about their concern for not having Celebration. She got in touch with Stanley, who gave her the okay to set up the GoFundMe.

The committee is also determining how to decorate their Secret Garden theme in the field house, which will become hardly recognizable in May. It will be a party room, with a casino, raffle, pizza grotto, and tiki bar, as was described at the meeting in January.

Future meetings will be held the first Thursday of every month, at 6 p.m. in the junior/senior cafe for any senior, underclassmen, or amumn parents who want to help. There is a senior parent meeting in April, where they will give information about Celebration and senior stars (which parents decorate for their students).

For any more updates on fundraisers and events, check out BHS Celebration, 2018 on Facebook.