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Grad Ball, a Glen Rock tradition


When people learn about what Glen Rock is about, one of the first things that is mentioned is the Graduation Ball. This event takes place in the evening after Graduation occurs. Traditionally the third Wednesday or Thursday of June.

The Graduation Ball started with the first graduating class of GRHS in 1959. This was the first class that entered the newly built High School in 1956. Senior Class parents created this event while looking for a safe, alcohol-free venue where graduating students could celebrate. This event became the “Glen Rock High School Graduation Ball.”  The ball transforms the  High School gym into someplace magical.  What started out as a safety reason to keep the graduates occupied, turned in to a labor of love and a gift from the parents to the graduates. The theme is kept secret from all in town until it is reveled in the pre- graduation walkthrough  for family, residents and friends. Even then the visitors are sworn to secrecy so the seniors do not find out until they enter at 9 pm. Many of the first graduating classes enjoyed famous sounds of the big band era. Classes of 1959 and 1961 enjoyed the sounds of Tommy Dorsey’s band. In 1962 Harry James played the GRHS Graduation Ball.

The ball starts at 9pm and runs until 3 am. IF a senior leaves the ball, he or she can not come back in. After the Ball, everyone heads home and changes to then go to a fellow graduates house to have breakfast with a group of friends. After that, the tradition was that at 6am they would all meet at the Glen Rock Pool for a senior swim from 6am – 8am. The pool tradition is no longer a part of the post-ball festivities.

The ball takes at least a year for the group of parents to create. There are 3 parts that create the final ball. Choosing the theme, designing the set and building the set. Many years the parents would have to narrow the theme down from 35 ideas to only one. Then parents would meet for hours in the evening at each others house planning and designing the set. After that is done they work on building the set and storing the pieces in the High School “Rifle Room” off of the senior hallway.

A few weeks before graduation, the sports wing and the Sr. Gym are closed off to all students and staff so that the parents can build that years ball.  There are many fundraisers that are done to help lower the cost of the materials and the creation of the ball. One of the most prominent ones is the Family Fun Fair. This is run by the incoming senior class parents as well as the Central Business district. The Money raised goes to both organizations.

AS a Graduate of Glen Rock High School ’88, I feel that the ball is one of the best memories of graduation and was one of the most special gifts that our parents gave us to complete our time at Glen Rock High School.

This year is the 58th Graduation ball.. what is the theme.. we will find out later!

open Walkthrough is: 3-5 and 5:30 – 8 pm


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