The Grad Sleepover is an annual tradition for Grade 12 students, one where the upcoming graduates have an opportunity that isn’t often given: to forget about the stresses of graduation and break loose within the halls of their school.
Although for some, it holds a heavier, more sentimental meaning.
“The sleepover’s sort of a rite of passage. It’s also really great for bringing the grad class together and allowing them to socialize,” said Alexei Hauser.
The night included numerous activities, such as movies, a giant Twister mat, and an even larger costumed Dodgeball tournament. But according to Jane Kolmatycki, one of the original hosts of the sleepover, it didn’t start out that way.
“It was an idea that I came up with about 10 years ago. I just love ‘doing grad’ so much and I was thinking about how much fun it might be to have a night of curling up in sleeping bags, all lying in the multipurpose room and watching movies,” Mrs. K, as the students affectionately call her, said. “The first year it was only about 60 kids, and that is what we did – watched movies all night. Some slept, some didn’t.”
Since then, the number of students attending has grown, with about 120 kids each year. Although they arrive with various sleeping accessories, many make it a personal mission to avoid sleep – even if it means crashing in class or in the hallway the next day.
“The day after sleepover is one of the most relaxing days. It is one where some teachers just schedule a whole block of sleeping and throughout the halls, that is what you see: students sleeping and wandering around completely dazed. Not to mention the exhausted teachers that stay up with the students,” Alysha Wall, a Grad Exec. said.
Despite the unavoidable loss of sleep, it’s completely worth it to Kolmatycki.
“I get so many comments from parents about how wonderful it is to see kids having such innocent fun, just like elementary school, which is what we want to do – recreate that childhood experience one more time before they all leave for the great big world.”