Parent Teacher Student Association

Grad Nite Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

  • How did Grad Nite get started?

    In 1989, a group of Poway High parents organized the first Grad Nite on campus. Previously, the graduating seniors were bussed to Disneyland, but it didn't offer the promise of a safe, drug and alcohol free event, nor the ability for the graduates to spend their last high school memories together as a group. Since then, each year PHS has held Grad Nite on campus. It is our gift to the senior class from the parents, the school, and our community and an important tradition for our school. Typically, 85% of the seniors attend Grad Nite. A lot of effort is made to make it the biggest party of the year; one they don't want to miss!

  • What happens at Grad Nite?

    Grad Nite takes place after graduation, beginning at 10 pm and lasting until 5am the following morning. They gym and surrounding areas are transformed into a magical setting depicting the theme. The ticket price admits the graduate to a one-of-a-kind extravaganza of hired entertainment (stage show-illusionist, large inflatable games, caricaturists, fortune telling, souvenir photos, DJ and dancing, hair styles) carnival games, money machine, a casino with blackjack, craps, roulette, amazing prizes, and food and beverages throughout the evening. No other money is needed. Only PHS graduates may attend and they are required to stay the entire evening unless checked out by a parent/guardian. Security will pat-down each student as they enter and all belongings will be stored in a check-in closet. Please encourage your senior to attend by holding your family celebrations earlier in the day of graduation or after graduation day. All parents whose students have purchased tickets and have not shown up by 11pm are called, to ensure that parents know they aren't at Grad Nite and hopefully can be tracked down. We encourage parents to arrange carpools with your neighbors and friends for picking up students at 5am. If working the 2nd shift, students can go home with you! They will be very tired and will be safer being driven home.

  • Why have Grad Nite?

    Grad Nite offers graduates a safe place to celebrate with their friends before they go their separate ways with no drugs, no alcohol, and no tragedy. The California Highway Patrol reports this night, more than any other night of the school year, attributes to more deaths and injuries of high school students from drunk driving. Since Grad Nites have become popular, there has been a significant decline in the death toll during the weeks of graduation.

  • What does the event cost?

    Traditionally, we have worked from a $60,000 budget to produce Grad Nite. However, in light of the economy, we have cut our budget by 40% this year. More than half of the funds are raised by ticket sales, but the rest of the budget is made up from fundraising and donations from the community businesses and parents. Of this budget, 55% is Entertainment, 10% on each of the following areas: Food, Security, Prizes, Tshirts and 5% Administrative costs. Our goal is to have every graduate attend. We offer scholarships to those who cannot attend otherwise. We are a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.

  • Who organizes and creates Grad Nite?

    Grad Nite is a PTSA sponsored event and supported by PHS Administration and Staff, community businesses and the City of Poway. The Grad Nite Chair is an appointed committee chairman on the PTSA Executive Committee and its sub-committee chairmen are chosen from the volunteer interest forms distributed during Registration each year in August. Planning an event this size requires many volunteer hours - but when broken down into sub-committees, it is not only manageable, but fun as well. If you'd like to work the night of Grad Nite, you get first choice of where to work if you’re on the committee. There are two shifts: 1st shift is 9:30pm-1:30am and 2nd shift is 1am-5am. Working on a committee gives parents a chance to get to know other parents and it’s a great bonding experience as we all share in this final event of high school. Parents, please consider joining in the planning of Grad Nite at some level. There are many ways to help. 

The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) is an equal opportunity employer/program and is committed to an active Nondiscrimination Program.  PUSD  does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, ethnic group identification, ancestry, religion, gender, gender identification, mental or physical disability.  For more information, please contact Associate Superintendent, Personnel Support Services, Poway Unified School District, 15250 Avenue of Science, San Diego, CA 92128-3406.