Seniors celebrate Grad Bash at Universal


photo by Alexis Madlang

Students taking photos in front of a Universal Grad Bash mural. Students were able to travel through both parks to enjoy food, rides and street entertainment.

Next to be strapped into her seat, senior Mia O’Neil watches the students in front of her disappear onto the rollercoaster tracks. It was the moment before getting on the ride that O’Neil enjoyed the most; the anticipation before being able to experience the thrill of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. 

On April 1, seniors like O’Neil were able to experience Universal’s Grad Bash event, where students had access to DJs and all rides between both parks from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. 

“I have been to Universal before, but what made this experience different was having mainly seniors around and getting to enjoy one last trip together,” senior Casey Saad said. 

In preparation for the event, senior class sponsor Pamela Lynch had to request a Grad Bash date, collect money and permission slips and request buses and communicate with Universal. 

“I think they will remember this as a fun time with their friends, a memorable event in their senior year,” Lynch said.

Seniors planning to attend were required to pay $100 for their ticket and transportation through MySchoolBucks before Feb. 14. They were also asked to get permission slips signed and turned in to Lynch before being listed as eligible for the event. To ensure the safety of students, Universal provided rules on early release and dress code for participants. For example, students were not allowed to wear shirts with zip codes and high school or college logos. 

Seniors and chaperones met in front of the auditorium at 5:30 p.m. and departed around 6 p.m. Students were given their tickets for park entry and yellow wristbands for exit. Unfortunately, there were not enough buses, so students were required to sit three to a seat on the way there and back. 

Upon arrival, students exited the bus and were sent through security. With many other high schools there, it took roughly 30 minutes to pass through security. Once they made it into the parks, the fun began and seniors had freedom to go wherever they wanted between Universal and Island of Adventure. With nearly 10,000 students in attendance, the park was very crowded. 

“My favorite part was to simply have an occasion that was based on the theme of graduating, and seeing all the seniors happy and rejoicing together in a non-educational environment,” senior McKayla Greenier said. 

Nearing the end of the night around 2 a.m., seniors met at the exit and drove back to Hagerty. However, while they enjoyed the trip, students admitted they would like to see some changes.

“A recommendation for a change would just be to leave the school earlier so we have a better chance of getting off the bus and through security faster, or getting another bus or two so it’s less crowded and more organized,” senior Abigail Hayward said. “But I am very glad I attended because I feel like it’s important to take part in the senior activities as much as I can since I am only a high school senior once.”