May 28, 2002 -- Ideas for a Safe Graduation

OK, so you're not going to drink and drive at graduation. You've made the positive choice, you're geared up and ready, and you're going to start your new life on the right foot. But you still want to have fun, right? So what do you do? There are a lot of things to do that are a lot more fun than staggering around, bumping into people, falling over, or throwing up in the parking lot... here are just a few ideas:

Go Someplace Unexpected in Your Party Clothes
While you're all dressed up, go to a late-night diner and order a burger and a milkshake. Not only will it hit the spot, but you'll get tons of attention-from the other diners as well as the waitstaff. Revel in the attention-you deserve it!

Go on a Photo Mission
Ever seen the Kodak commercial where the kids are passing a disposable camera around the school, getting great candid shots? Take a page from this book and buy a bunch of disposable cameras, or round up as many Polaroid instant cameras as you can find. Set a goal to use every single picture, and split up. Later, have everyone get back together--and show their photos if you used Polaroids. Later, you can make scrapbooks or photo albums with captions--and then make color copies of the whole thing so you and your friends have a way to bring back the great memories.

Have a Scavenger Hunt
Split up into teams and find funny or unusual items. Have everyone meet at a set place and time, and have prizes for the team that finds the most items on the list. You can also take a page from the photo mission idea, and go on a Polaroid scavenger hunt, where the team has to have its picture taken with various things-a bride, a golf flag, a mounted policeman, etc. And at the end of this one, the photos make great souvenirs!

Game Night
Cranium. Jenga. Tribond. MadGabs. Monopoly. Round up your favorite board games, get plenty of chips, dips, sodas, and snacks, and have a game night party. Have each of your friends bring his or her favorites, and play games all night. Or, find one or two of the hottest new games and learn how to play together.

Sing. Sing Out Loud
Have a karaoke party. Chip in to rent a karaoke machine and set it up. Award prizes to the best and worst singers. There are tons of great songs, and everyone knows one or two. So instead of singing into the mirror with your hairbrush, sing on stage in front of your friends! Make sure to take plenty of pictures (and no fair recording anyone!)

Arcade Night
Round up a group of friends and go to the local arcade for game night. Have contests and competitions, order pizza, play laser tag---there's an endless supply of fun games to play and new things to try at the arcade.

It's Fun to Stay at the...
Ask your local YMCA if you can hold an after-graduation basketball tournament or swim night, or even a lock-in. Many YMCAs are more than happy to help kids stay out of trouble on graduation night, and again this is something where the list of things to do is almost endless. Bring your favorite CDs to play in the background.

I Could Go For Java
Go to a late-night coffee house and relive the evening for hours. Spend some good, quality time with your friends, and make plans for the future. You'll be hanging out in a lot of coffee houses in the next few years, especially if you're taking off for college. Get warmed up to it now.

Dance Fever
Meet at a friend's house, take off your shoes, and really, really dance. (Be sure to let the neighbors and the police know in advance!)

These are just a few of the alternatives to drinking and driving on graduation night -- use your imagination and come up with something that's right for you and your friends. And if you do go out, be sure to watch other drivers on the road who might not have made the same positive choice you have. Drivers who veer towards lights (like the headlights of an oncoming car) who drive erratically or weave, or don't hold a consistent speed are all things to watch for. Carry a cell phone with you, and if you see a drunk driver, call the police. You just might be saving someone's life.

While the consequences of getting caught driving drunk are severe, especially now that every state has a "zero tolerance" policy for underage drinking and driving, the consequences of not getting caught can be much, much worse. The destruction drunk drivers inflict on their communities is immeasurable -- loss of life, loss of ability, property damage and loss, higher taxes, and the emotional destruction of families who lose their loved ones -- or whose loved ones cause accidents.


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