Seniors will get grad night after all

After the annual Grad Bash at Universal Studios was canceled, the school district has come up with an alternative.



Seniors still have a chance to be able to enjoy their senior year before it ends. Busch Gardens has opened its park up just for seniors in Pinellas County to be able to participate in their Grad Night event. Pinellas County School District agreed to the alternative for seniors after Universal Studios in Orlando made it clear that they weren’t having the Grad Bash event for seniors.

The date is set for May 7 from 7 p.m. to midnight and costs $90. The ticket includes entrance to the park, a meal voucher and bus transportation. You must have a valid student ID to purchase a ticket and bring cash or money orders made payable to Lakewood High School.

In order to be eligible to attend, students must be classified as a graduating senior in good standing and have satisfied their senior fee payment. Tickets will be sold until April 23 or until they are sold out.

Some students are excited that they can at least have something to do for their last year after dealing with the consequences of the pandemic.

“Honestly, I love Universal much more than Busch Gardens, so I’m a little upset, but it’s not the end of the world,” senior Kai Wayman said.

Other students said Busch Gardens isn’t going to be the same as the Universal Grad Night experience.

“I honestly don’t like the fact they changed the location from Universal to Busch Gardens. I’ve been to Busch Gardens countless times and I’ve been really looking forward to going to Universal. It’s something that I’ve heard from my sister and brother who both graduated,” senior Zeden Tafari said.

At first, the district said seniors weren’t allowed to go on any field trips or do any senior activities off their school’s property due to CDC guidelines and rising cases.

“The only reason why you all are getting to go is because the district is working with CDC in order to make this trip happen,” HOPE teacher Chantella Moore said.

Some staff and students are also worried about how this process will work out as far as transportation for seniors and still following the CDC guidelines.

“This is a process we have never done before. I can’t sell tickets passed April 23, because I have to submit that number to the district. The district will then decide how many buses will go based on where the guidelines are,” Moore said.

Senior Jacquez McCray said he likes that the new location is familiar to him. He also said he likes the fact that he will be able to spend time with other students from different schools in Pinellas County.

“It would be nice to go somewhere other then Orlando and not being around an amusement park based off of movies, so I feel pretty jovial about it being at Busch Gardens this year,” he said.

Senior James Boyd said now that they have found an alternative for the Universal Grad Bash, he is hoping they might do the same for prom.

“We should add something like a field day with just all the seniors,” Boyd said.