Enjoying a star-studded party

A little bling and a lot of fun were the order of the night when the matriculating class of El Roble Intermediate School celebrated their annual Eighth Grade Party on Wednesday night, June 12.

The party, which was organized by the school’s Parent Faculty Association, had a jazzy Hollywood theme. Students entered the auditorium via a red carpet and had opportunities throughout the event, which ran from 6 to 9:30 p.m., to don a costume and strike a pose.

The decorating theme was most evident in the darkened auditorium, where disco lighting and songs by hitmakers like Niki Minaj and Rhianna beckoned students to dance. The letters to the Hollywood sign hung over the stage, fairy lights and tinsel shone and the darkened room was aglow with star lanterns. 

When the COURIER left the scene at 7:30 p.m., however, no students had opted to take advantage of the dance floor. That explains why El Roble now sees its 8th graders, of which there are about 550 this year, off with a full extravaganza.

PFA president Julie Pedroza explained when it was simply a dance, you had the awkward junior high phenomenon of the girls lined up on one side of the room and the boys lined up on the other. Only a few kids were prepared to cross the invisible demarcation line and ask a classmate to dance.

Now, the dance floor is only the beginning. Once students went outside onto the El Roble grounds, they found a slew of other diversions, like an inflatable “Boot Camp” obstacle course, an inflatable “Human Foosball” court, a test-your-strength hammer game and a face-painting station. The PFA worked all year raising money and garnering donations in able to ensure a festive 8th grade send off.

As any parent of a young teen knows, growing kids have nearly insatiable appetites. This was not a problem, because there was food a-plenty, starting with a Carl’s Junior Truck providing burger and Chicken Star combos.

One boy’s exclamation said it all. “Dude, free food! This place is bomb.”

Volunteers also dispensed popcorn, cupcakes, soda and candy of every ilk. The Double Tree hotel notably sent some 350 cookies for the youths.

“We’re going to sugar them up and send them home,” Ms. Pedroza laughed.

There is a lot of mystery surrounding the Eighth Grade Party. The kids don’t know until 10 days before the event, when they receive an invitation at school, what the party’s theme is.

“It’s all a surprise,” said one student, Amber Ayala.

And of course, there are plenty of rumors about what the shindig is like.

“My brother said it was really fun when he was in 8th grade, Julie’s son Nick said.

And the students know this is their last middle school hurrah. On Friday, they will receive their yearbooks and enjoy their last few hours at El Roble and then be turned loose for the summer, now considered incoming freshmen.  Most of the outgoing 8th graders said they were ready for the change.

“It feels pretty great,” said Nick’s friend, TJ Carney.

“I’m pretty happy about it,” added Amber. “I’ve had a pretty rough year.”

Parent volunteer Cynthia Cervantes McGuire, mother to outgoing 8th grader Max, feels a party is a great way to culminate a students’ El Roble career.

“I think it’s nice that it isn’t a graduation or something where parents feel they have to rent limos and tuxes,” Ms. Cervantes McGuire said.  “This is 8th grade.”

There was plenty of jostling of boys vying against one another on the obstacle note and squeals as girls were reunited with their friends after a long 3-hour separation. But one boy knew how to chill out.

He wore a shirt, in a nod to his fledgling facial hair, saying, “Keep calm and grow a moustache.”

It’s always a relief to school staff and administrators when you can pull off a happening like the end-of-year party without a hitch.

“It’s a great night for kids, with lots of activity,” said El Roble principal Scott Martinez. “It’s a great way for them to celebrate.”

—Sarah Torribio



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