Last Night Committee makes the seniors’ last night at WA a memorable one


Provided by Cindy McKeen

The Senior class of 2019 in the bell lobby playing poker during their Last Night event.

Elitsa Koleva, News Editor

Every year comes spring, and with it, high school graduation.

After preparing for it their entire lives, seniors throughout the country finally get to receive their diplomas and throw their caps into the air, marking an end to four years and the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. It is a moment which they will forever cherish and look back on with deep feelings of pride and joy. Yet, the night that follows, which should be remembered as an equally joyous time of celebration, is instead marred by alcohol, drugs and drunk driving. For the Westford Academy class of 2022, this will not be the case.

The seniors will have the opportunity to attend Last Night, an event that begins June 3 at 10 p.m and ends 5 a.m the following morning, when they will be let out after being locked in the entire night. It will take place on the first floor of WA, offering a celebration with food, games and no harmful substances; tickets cost 30 dollars per person.

The Westford Academy Student Supporters group, or Last Night Committee, has been organizing this event for the past thirty-one years. What started it all for many members of the committee was the desire to make a safe, yet festive environment for seniors that is overseen by adults.

“When I was a freshman in high school, there was a car accident on graduation night and three graduates were seriously hurt. Westford Academy Student Supporters President Cindy McKeen said. “Years later, when my children were in high school, I heard about Last Night and I wanted to help with the event. I’ve been involved ever since.”

This year, the event will be pirate-themed and have a variety of entertainment options, including carnival games in the gym, gambling in the bell lobby and a surprise two-hour show in the PAC. There will also be a slideshow presented in the auditorium containing pictures of the entire class throughout the years and a WA souvenir awarded to each one of them. Food and drinks will be provided by several businesses including BJ’s, Kimball Farm, and Paul’s Diner.

According to McKeen and Westford Academy Student Supporters Vice President Suzanne Blasi-Bombardieri, the committee is very considerate when it comes to selecting activities each year in order to make the celebration as creative and fun as possible, with a little bit of something for everybody to do.

“Our vendors are very good about suggesting games […] that have become very popular [so] it’s not exactly the same every year,” Blasi-Bombardieri said. “There are games of chance, games of skill. There’s some physical activities that we set up in the gym so there’s something if you are a doer and you just want to go crazy and expend energy.”

For every game the seniors will receive prizes, such as carnival-style stuffed animals, keys and raffle tickets. According to McKeen, the keys will be used to open treasure chests containing gift cards found throughout the school, which poses an exciting challenge because not all keys fit every key hole.

Meanwhile, the biggest, most impressive prizes will be won in a raffle held at the end of the night. According to Blasi-Bombardieri, the seniors will get to place their tickets into bowls for items of their choosing, most of which will be dormitory essentials like flat-screen TVs, refrigerators, Beats headphones and JBL speakers, which have been prizes in the past.

“All of these people in the community [contribute toward buying these prizes],” Blasi-Bombardieri said. “We use some donations, but now we’ve been developing an Amazon wishlist [where] people will go purchase different raffle prizes or a bunch of people will go in together to buy one of the […] more expensive ones.”

In addition to the funding that goes toward the prizes, there are other ways people in the Westford community help out. According to McKeen and Blasi-Bombardieri, the entire event is organized and chaperoned by over 300 adult volunteers recruited from all over town. Their jobs include decorating, running the games and keeping track of the seniors coming in, as well as contacting parents if their child signed up but is not there.

When hiring volunteers, the Last Night Committee makes sure the adults present are not parents of seniors, as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable.

“A lot of people who volunteer […] will do it years after their kids have graduated which is great […],” Blasi-Bombardieri said. “Now we are trying to recruit people who have younger children so that it will still be going when their kids make it from elementary school [up] to high school graduation.”  

Indeed, the Last Night Committee’s greatest hope is to keep Last Night going for as long as possible in order to deliver future seniors with as many long-lasting memories as they have in the past.

“Almost everybody will win something by the end of the night if they want to. [And if not], it is really just an opportunity for everybody to hang out with their classmates for the last time at WA,” McKeen said. “People will come up to me and say ‘I remember my Last Night celebration and it was a lot of fun’ and it does warm my heart to think they remember it after all these years [and that] these memories last a lifetime.”