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  • Writer's pictureellencdonker


Midnight Madness at CHS

The night of graduation is full of mystery and fun for the graduating class at Columbia High School. Seniors board buses at CHS and are taken to a top secret location (seriously – not even Home and School Association board members know where it is until graduation night). There, graduates get to enjoy a special night with their classmates, music, food and fun. But no drugs or alcohol. The buses bring the celebrants back to CHS at 5 a.m. the next day, safe and ready for a long nap.

“Everyone I know is going to be there,” one CHS senior told us. “I’m excited to find out where it will be.”

In the last two years Midnight Madness has taken the new graduates to cruises around New York Harbor and to a private evening of fun and games at Funplex.

It’s a night of celebration for our seniors, but the idea behind Midnight Madness is serious.

The town of Oxford Hills, Maine began hosting drug and alcohol free parties for graduates after it lost nine students to drug and alcohol-related car accidents in the spring of 1979. The idea was so successful many communities started their own post graduation parties. The SOMA version of this idea is Midnight Madness, and it has safeguarded our kids since 1988.

“Midnight Madness is a community effort to keep our kids safe and make sure they have fun. Midnight Madness costs roughly $145 per person, but we sell tickets for $75 to ensure the event stays affordable,” says Midnight Madness co-organizer Lori Thorn. Midnight Madness is an inclusive event. “We try to make sure all the kids are there. Even if they didn’t graduate, we want them to enjoy Midnight Madness,” Thorn explains.

Many local businesses support Midnight Madness to cover this price gap and help students struggling with the significant expenses of graduation. You can see the red and black Midnight Madness supporter signs in many storefront windows.

But most of the donations to Midnight Madness come from the people of Maplewood and South Orange. If you’d like to contribute, the easiest way is to give money at You can also buy a Mapsopoly Board Game ($25), CHS swag ($1-30) or a personalized graduation yard sign for your grad ($25) by visiting

And if you really want to have fun while donating to a great cause, you can send a special delivery of pink birds to “flock” a neighbor, or yourself ($25), because who doesn’t like a lawn full of flamingos? But just in case you don’t, you can “block the flock,” too ($15).

Whether you do it with flamingos, a yard sign, or a donation, wish the CHS grads good luck and help them have a safe night.

Adrianna Donat is a freelance copywriter who wishes the class of 2019 a lifetime of fun and adventure.


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