On May 27 260 seniors and their dates went to Disneyland Park to take part in Grad Nite.
According to Assistant Principal for Student Life Paul Jordan ’88, the tradition began in the early 2000s and has always been a popular event for seniors in celebrating their graduation.
“After administration shifted prom to occur earlier in the school year, Grad Nite attained the window it needed and has become a beloved school practice ever since,” said Jordan.
Jordan has been organizing the event every year since.
When the school considered starting the event, Jordan said, “There were fears that seniors might make a mistake or act irresponsibly at Grad Nite and that it might prevent their graduation, but it’s certainly been proven that our [Loyola] guys do a really good job, and I think it has been really successful.”
“My biggest goal in anything that I do here is to make it as accessible to as many people as possible,” said Jordan. “For some people it might not be accessible because of cost, and for others it might be because of co-curricular conflicts.”
Director of Activities Chris Walter ’93 said, “Grad Nite is a fun time for the students to get together one last time before graduation, and the seniors that go have a great experience with seniors from other high schools.”
While Disneyland Park maintained its normal closing time at 11 p.m., Disney California Adventure extended its closing time to 2 a.m. for seniors who came from all over the country.
Grad Nite marked one of the last times the seniors assemble before graduation. Senior Matthew Yu said, “I wasn’t really thinking that this was one of the last times I was going to be with my classmates at the time, and I don’t think anybody else was thinking about it either.”
Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure were set up especially for the high school graduates. Disneyland Park put on a special “World of Color” light and water show for the seniors and provided musical entertainment throughout the night.
At Disney California Adventure, several dance floors were set up all around the park for the seniors to gather, dance and socialize.
Senior Christopher Novia said, “My biggest takeaway from Grad Nite is that there is nothing like the bond that Cubs have with each other, which was apparent all throughout the night.”
“We were all just in the moment having fun, but afterwards I realized it was quite an emotional time and I know that the memories we made that night will stay with all of us for the rest of our lives,” Yu said.