Johnson High student works to save all-night grad party tradition

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The tradition of an all-night graduation party could be in jeopardy for seniors at a St. Paul high school.

As class president at Johnson Senior High School, Carlos Alderete is excited to enter the final days of his senior year. In addition to wrapping up his schoolwork, he's also trying to rescue the school’s annual celebration.

For the last few years, parents have planned an all-night party for seniors to hang out with their classmates one last time after graduation before going their separate ways. A couple of weeks ago, Alderete learned no planning or fundraising had been done for this year's event, leaving the party's future up in the air.

"We've had the same group running the senior party of the last several years and this year was a transition year and we thought we weren't going to be able to pull it off because a couple of people got new jobs,” said Micheal Thompson, Johnson Senior High School principal. “Their kids graduated and we didn't have enough volunteers.”

Alderete rounded up a new group of parents, alumni and volunteers to save the all-night soiree. He's going from business to business in the community asking for donations of food, money or merchandise to raffle off at the event.

"One thing we say around here is if students can do it for themselves, let them do it in whatever ways they can," said Thompson.

After all, Alderete says there's no better way for his class to end their high school experience on the right note.

"We come from a low-income neighborhood and a lot students may not be able to throw a graduation party, so for them this is their graduation party," said Alderete.

In the past, the organizers say they needed as much as $7,000. Alderete is hoping for $2,000. For more information or to donate, contact Alderete at