THE THEME FOR THE 2014 ALL-NIGHT GRADUATION PARTY was A Knight To Remember. Dana Brockopp and her team of volunteers turned Big Lake Middle School into a world of medieval enchantment in just one afternoon.

All-Night Grad Party - A Knight to Remember

Submitted Article
As the graduation caps flew into the air Friday night, Big Lake’s Class of 2014 began to celebrate. 
After years and years of hard work, more than 2,000 days of classes, two graduation ceremony rehearsals, and one real graduation, the seniors were finally able to revel in their successes. Not long after they shed their caps and gowns, the vast majority spent a magical and memorable night at the Big Lake All-Night Grad Party, where they celebrated until the sun came up the next morning. 
The All-Night Grad Party provides the graduating seniors with a safe, secure, and chemical-free environment in which more than 75% of graduating seniors spend their graduation night together, making memories that will last a lifetime. 
The All-Night Grad Party marks what is likely the last time the majority of the class will all be together. 
As Reid Ramsdell said, “The all night grad party was one of the memories I will cherish forever with the people I love.”
This year’s party began immediately following the graduation ceremony Friday and provided the students with a wide variety of entertainment, food options, and opportunities to socialize until 5 a.m. This year’s theme was A Knight to Remember and the seniors were wowed as they entered a middle school that had been transformed into a medieval landscape of castles, knights, dungeons, and a wide variety of other themed decorations. “Awesome,” “amazing,” and “unbelievable” were common words heard as the graduates made their way into the middle school and many noted that it was not even recognizable as the middle school. 
The seniors then found plenty to keep them busy throughout the night, and ended the evening with a prize giveaway that left every student with lots of prizes to carry home. A number of students described the event as, “one of the best nights of my life.”
This year also marked the fifth and final year that the All-Night Grad Party was planned and organized by Dana Brockopp, the chair of the planning committee, who has been intimately involved in all aspects of the party planning on a year-round basis. “We want the community to know how much effort Dana has poured into this event over these past five years, and we want to thank Dana for her tireless efforts in making this a magical and safe night for our graduating seniors. Dana’s efforts have created lifetime memories for more than 1,000 Big Lake graduates,” noted a planning committee member. 
The All-Night Grad Party is funded and supported 100% through the efforts of volunteers, donors within the community, and fundraising activities. 
This party simply would not happen without the dedication, time, efforts, commitment, and talents of the many volunteers who contribute hours and hours of time to make it all come together, and the committee would like to take this opportunity to extend a tremendous thank you to all of our volunteers. 
In particular, the committee would like to thank Boone Chiropractic, HeartWorks Therapeutic Massage, and Advanced Styling for donating their time and their talent again this year. 
This party also would not be possible without the generous donations and support from our community, including some of our largest supporters: Big Lake School District, Knights of Columbus, Zimmerman Fire Dept, KleinBank, Big Lake American Legion, Elk River American Legion, and BNSF Railway.
The planning process is nearly a year-round event, with the kick-off for each year beginning early in the fall. The committee is always looking for individuals willing to share their time and talents in a variety of areas. 
If creativity is your thing, and you are able to see a project through to completion, there is a place for you on the decorating subcommittee. 
If your talents lie in project management, fundraising, communications, multimedia, event planning, or food preparation, we would love to have you share your skills with the committee and the graduating seniors. If you don’t feel particularly skilled or talented in any of these areas, the committee has a place for you as well. 
As a committee member stated, “I have met and gotten to know some great people who I probably otherwise would never have met. It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun too. Making this event come to fruition does require time, effort, and commitment to seeing projects through; however, when you see the looks on the graduates’ faces, see them having so much fun together, and hear the many comments throughout the night about how amazed they are, it makes it all worthwhile.” 
Meeting dates are provided in the high school newsletter. Information can  also be found at biglakegradparty.com, and the Big Lake Grad Party Facebook page.  
Please check these sights 
Grad Party Cont. On Pg 
often throughout the school year for updates regarding fundraisers, volunteer opportunities, needed supplies, and other information. 
The planning committee strongly encourages parents of sophomores and juniors to get involved in the planning process, so that the parents of graduating seniors can enjoy their children’s senior year events. 
If you are willing to help, please contact Chris Leeseberg at leeseberg6@yahoo.com or Dave Harbeck at dharbeck@izoom.net
  One graduate, Taylor Vick, summed up well how she and many others felt:
“I would give anything to do last night all over again! Amazing grad party!”
 

photos


NEW BIG LAKE BOUTIQUE OWNERS are Beth Koch, Shanna Romsdahl and Aadra Mielke.

FROM HOLLYHOCK FARM near Becker, Teresa Kukowski and her alpaca Francine have beautiful eyes and make beautiful garments from alpaca wool.

(L to R) Michelle Garcia and Steve Karel, two of the newest faces at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge, are looking forward to the opening of the Oak Savanna Learning Center in October. (Photo by Aleah Stenberg)

VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE Big Lake’s Knowledge Bowl Team made their very first trip to state last week and came home with sixth place medals. Team members are (from the left), Jake Dickinson, Jack Flicker, Peter Wallace, Tim Poffenberger and Jacob Block. The team is coached by Teacher Angela McCormack. (Submitted photo).