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Operation Graduation 2014: Success Aboard the SS Blackhawk!

Jun 26, 2014 01:28PM ● By Pamela Johnson

A casino was just one of many activities for seniors about the "ship" SS Blackhawk.

2014 was the 21st anniversary of Operation Graduation, an all-night drug- and alcohol-free party thrown by a special group of senior parents for all BHS graduating seniors. This year’s Operation Graduation had a cruise theme and was a huge success, with rave reviews from our graduates.

This event’s success relies on residents and businesses coming together, parents of the OpGrad team setting up the different fundraising events, businesses donating items and/or money and then residents purchasing the raffle tickets for their chance to win. Watching the Bellingham community work together to make this event a success was heartwarming. The amount of support from our community was tremendous, and we thank all who contributed to help make this event a success.
As you might imagine, a lot of work goes into the planning of this event. We started planning in June of 2013 with monthly meetings, and held multiple fundraisers with prizes donated by local businesses and parents. Then we began building our cruise ship, the SS Blackhawk— to let our students step aboard and begin the cruise into their future. All of our fundraising resulted in an awesome night for the seniors because we were able to have tons of activities and photo opportunities for the graduates (boat, life boat, oversized lobster trap, and captain’s wheel). 

The cafeteria was transformed into the main dining room, where all of the food donations—and what a spread— were available. There were a DJ, a hypnotist and, of course, what’s a cruise ship without a casino, right? The promenade deck hosted water pong and shuffle board (who knew we could get kids to use a Swiffer® so eagerly!). The entertainment deck had a mechanical shark, rock wall, team challenge obstacle course, Robo-Surfer, giant slide and giant trikes; Captain Collin’s offered refreshments and Big C’s soft-serve for all to enjoy. And the Lido deck had a photo booth, caricature artists, airbrush tattoo artist, hair braiding, make-up, nails, make your own souvenir, and a candy bar and outlets to Castaway Island for slushies, limbo and relaxation and to Oasis for daiquiris and pina coladas and a giant Jenga game!
Toward the end of the night all students gathered in the auditorium to watch a DVD slide show of pictures sent in by parents and friends and their class photos. As they departed the SS Blackhawk at 5 am —safe & sound, which is the whole point of this event—all students received a goody bag with Class of 2014 trinkets, gift cards, and hygiene items for them to take with them when they head off to school in the fall.
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