Letter from the Grad Night Company owners

"We appreciate your patience, as we work through this unprecedented time and as the government continues to announce changes on an almost daily basis. 
Our family is in the same place as yours; we have been completely devastated by this tragic situation. Like you, we are the parents of a high schooler and know firsthand the impact of this pandemic on our students, both in terms of academic hardship and the loss of the planned activities that mean so much to our kids. 
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the world and our country. Its impact has been felt in all aspects of our lives and nowhere less drastically than the hospitality and events business. Across our state many restaurants, caterers, and event planners have lost their businesses. Our company, with its mission to keep kids safe on graduation night, is struggling as well.
On the issue of refunds, we ask you to please understand that our business is immensely challenged by this pandemic too, and we are simply unable to provide refunds at this time. We utilize funds deposited by our Grad Nights clients on an ongoing basis throughout the year to fund operations.
As you may know, Grad Nights and the Howard Group’s commitment to alcohol and drug free graduation parties began out of the alcohol-related death of a dear friend when he and Kevin were high school seniors. Kevin started the first graduation party at his school, and that same passion has been our driving force for the past forty years. Our Grad Nights division is a mission as much as a business, and we are proud of our long history of ensuring a safe, fun celebration for the high school seniors of Western Washington.
Our goal is to continue that mission. Our company’s intent remains to find a way to make the graduation celebrations happen. We are seeing some progress in combating COVID-19, and the conversations are starting to focus on how and when to ease restrictions on gathering. We serve parent groups from around the state and many are examining various plans to move forward. Parents have asked us to explore several rescheduling options and based on their ideas, we have put together the best series of choices for the 2020 seniors. 
Here are the plan B options we are working on with our vendors:
1.      Keep the current party on the date scheduled, and if the Governor permits the events to go forward, we are ready to go! We all must realize that this may require some restructuring of the party based upon the number of seniors attending and fundraising shortfalls, and we will make needed adjustments accordingly. 
If the ban is not lifted by our June dates:
2.      We hold a rescheduled event late in the summer in anticipation of the ban being lifted by that point, possibly in combination with an in-person commencement now being considered by many schools. 
If the ban is not lifted by late summer:
3.      We plan a celebration for later in the year to coincide with college breaks, when most seniors will be back home. 
Or alternatively:
4.       We plan a combined 1-year reunion with the graduation party they were denied for next summer. This would provide a dual reason to celebrate, a 1-year reunion and the commemoration of graduating in the most challenging year in all our memories.
While we realize that no solution is perfect for everyone, this virus has left us with few alternatives, and we have all been forced to make many changes to our lives and expectations. We also believe that after being denied all their senior traditions, the seniors will want to gather together regardless of when it happens. We continue to look for ways to go forward with events to honor our seniors’ milestone and give them the celebration they deserve. We will be sending another email with more details for these alternative plans soon.
Please continue to stay safe and hold your families close,
Sondra & Kevin St. John
Grad Nights / The Howard Group, Inc."