23rd Operation Graduation Party Had Wild West Theme
Sheriff Mazzola with prisoners Lucas Giguerre and Tom Forbes.
Gallery: 2016 Operation Graduation [4 Images] Click any image to expand.
At the make-believe train depot, the students were welcomed to Hawks Hollow and received their cowboy hat, a bandana and $216. They could visit the general store, where penny candy and drinks were available for all. Along the dirt road they saw their “Wanted” posters. An arrest warrant could be bought at the Blackhawk Bank & Co, where the seniors were given a badge and a set of handcuffs with which to arrest their counterparts. Once caught, the suspects were taken to the jail, where they sat until they were bailed out by friends or could bail themselves out. It was the hit of the night.
The jail was located in the auditorium hallway. Also housed here was The Marino Mine roller coaster and skeet shooting of tin cans. The Courtyard had been transformed into “Oh So Done Corral,” where the seniors could mine for gold and watch a western movie from atop a covered wagon. The cafeteria had been turned into The Mane Event Saloon with swinging doors and many horses. There was a spread of food thanks to business donations, as well as a DJ and karaoke, a hypnotist and the Rusty Horseshoe Casino. The cafeteria hallway contained a nail saloon, caricature artists, a palm reader, a henna tattoo artist and a craft table for decorating their western hats.
Operation Graduation’s success relies on residents and businesses coming together, parents of the OpGrad team setting up different fundraising events, businesses donating items and/or money, and residents purchasing tickets to the fundraisers. The amount of support from the community was tremendous; watching the Bellingham community work together to make this event a success was heartwarming. A lot of work goes into the planning of something like this; we had monthly meetings and held multiple fundraisers with prizes donated by local businesses and parents; then we began the building of our western town, and we were able to have tons of activities and photo opportunities for the graduates. All of our efforts resulted in a fantastic night for the seniors.
Many thanks to all who contributed in any way to help make this event a success.