By the time Columbia High School (CHS) students receive their diplomas and flip their tassels, many of their questions about the future have been answered. They know where they’re attending college, where they will be working, or what they’re doing during their gap year. However, the location of that year’s Midnight Madness event remains a mystery.
Midnight Madness is an annual event organized by the Columbia High School Home and School Association (CHS HSA). The CHS HSA is a non-profit, volunteer organization that provides services for the South Orange-Maplewood community. The event, now in its 30th year, is held to provide a safe, substance free, all night party the night of the CHS graduation. As the CHS HSA states on its website, “More teens are involved in car accidents on graduation night than any other. This planned festivity provides a safe venue for our new graduates to hang out with their peers and celebrate.”
One of the biggest appeals of Midnight Madness is that the location is kept a secret until the graduates arrive at the chosen venue. Jeremy Feldman, a CHS senior, explained, “It’s a fun social opportunity open to all seniors, and the ambiguity surrounding the location can be fun for students.” Past locations include the Atlantic Club in Wall, NJ, The Funplex, Dave and Busters, and a boat cruise. Additionally, students are instructed to leave their cell phones and electronics at home.
Many CHS seniors are looking forward to the event. Nicole Braden, a graduating senior, said, “It’s kind of impossible for us to have a party with our entire class because of the size, but this gives us a way.”
This year, the event cost ran more than $50,000 between the buses, t-shirts, entertainment, and venue. However, the Midnight Madness committee is dedicated to fundraising for the event on their own. Holly Guber, the 2017 Midnight Madness co-chair, explained, “The one thing we never do is ask the seniors themselves to help with fundraising. Midnight Madness is a gift to the seniors from their parents and the community.” This year, the committee held can drives, created a “MAPSOpoly” board game to sell, and received donations from local business to fund the event. Additionally, the Senior Lawn signs and Black and Red bows for graduating CHS seniors are fundraisers for Midnight Madness.
Graduates are to arrive at CHS at 9 p.m. on the day of graduation, June 22, and are expected to return at about 5 a.m. The event is $100 per person, but financial assistance is available if needed. To request assistance, contact Narda Greene at [email protected] or Holly Guber at [email protected].