Pequot Lakes: New slate of Grad Blast organizers sought

Pequot Lakes High School Grad Blast committee member Alison Evenson holds a yearbook from 1990, when she was a PLHS senior, that shows the page from the school's first-ever Grad Blast. Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

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 or 218-839-7701.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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