As the Pequot Lakes Grad Blast committee plans the 30th annual event for the class of 2020, it also seeks “new blood” to take over the end-of-the-year celebration for high school seniors.

“It’s time to get some new parents in,” said Andrea Nelson, Grad Blast chair since 2016 and part of the organizational team since 2011.

None of the current organizers have high school seniors in their families.

“It’s not that we don’t want to do it, but new people need to get involved,” Nelson said.

Alison Evenson, a Grad Blast committee member since 2016, was part of the first-ever event 30 years ago as a senior with the Pequot Lakes High School class of 1990, which boasted 60 graduates.

Evenson fondly recalls the overnight lock-in at the school, where giveaways included a car and a trip, and students won little prizes for playing games and had the chance to be hypnotized.

The theme was “Flight to the Future,” and some parents dressed as airline attendants, Evenson said.

Grad Blast typically is held after graduation, which this year is so far scheduled overnight Friday, May 22, at the school for nearly 140 graduates, offering food all night, games, a casino, a hypnotist, comedian, inflatables and prizes.

“It’s to provide a safe, fun evening for kids - their last hurrah before they leave high school,” Nelson said.

It’s a chance for the graduates to celebrate their high school experience before going their separate ways.

“Our goal is to continue to provide a safe evening of fun, good food and special memories for our graduating seniors,” a flyer about the event says.

In addition to new committee planners, Grad Blast needs monetary donations for prizes. Food is donated, and all seniors leave with a prize worth at least $50. The average cost to fund Grad Blast is approximately $95 per student.

The $25 each student contributes to attend Grad Blast provides startup money for the next year’s event. With increasing class sizes, the cost to host the event continues to rise.

Nelson said the group that coordinates Grad Blast has been together since 2016, so it’s well organized and the event will run smoothly for anyone new coming in.

To volunteer or donate

To volunteer to be on the Grad Blast planning committee, or to donate money to the event for Pequot Lakes High Schools seniors, contact Andrea Nelson at anelson@isd186.org or 218-839-7701.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.