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The Iron Throne made an imposing appearance at Nite in Hand. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
This year’s Nite in Hand theme was everything and anything movies. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
The Harry Potter universe was well represented at Nite in Hand. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Source | Buy This Photo)
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Following the commencement ceremony, the Daniel Hand High School (DHHS) Class of 2019 took a trip to the movies—just not in the traditional sense. This year’s theme for Nite in Hand, an after graduation celebration designed to keep seniors safe, was everything and anything movies, from concession stands to a reproduction of the Hogwarts Express.
For the past 31 years, volunteers have come together to transform part of DHHS for Nite in Hand. The event keeps graduating seniors in the school from right after graduation until the next morning and offers a fun and safe way for students to celebrate.
There is a different theme each year, according to organizer Maribel Friend.
“We put some ideas out there and then we vote on it,” she said. “We try to figure out a subject that could be carried through the whole school because we get some great ideas, but sometimes they are too limited. That’s why we pick a broader theme.”
This year, the theme included scenes from Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, the Lego Movie, multiple Marvel movies, and HBO’s Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones isn’t a film, but organizers managed to build The Wall inside the school as well as an impressive replica of the Iron Throne—when you have an opportunity to build the Iron Throne, you build the Iron Throne.
Friend said the whole point of having a theme is to transform the school.
“Basically what we try to do is transform the school so yes the kids come back to the school, but they also feel like they are in a different place,” she said. “We want it to be special because this is likely the last time the whole class will be together.”
An incredible amount of detail is added to each attraction—TV panels displayed falling snow behind the iron throne and bricks in the Harry Potter display included messages from graduating seniors about where they see themselves in 10 years. Activities for the evening included dancing, bingo, a photo booth, tarot card readers, cartoonists, inflatables, and carnival games.
Friend said the whole evening is possible because of volunteers.
“I have about 400 volunteers throughout the whole process because I need volunteers from September until now,” she said. “I have volunteers that help with all the prep work and then I have volunteers that are going to be working tonight.”
Beyond volunteers, Friend said donations help ensure the evening is financially possible.
“Donations range from props to money to food,” she said. “The donations come in from parents, the community, businesses, restaurants, and everyone really donates in some way because people either donate directly out this or they donate things for the auction that helps raise money for this event.”
A lot of work goes into pulling off the event, but what is built for the evening doesn’t necessarily go to waste afterward. Some of the impressive artwork done by Sara Nebal, Shannon McCabe, Patrick Ganino, and Colson Ganino of various characters and superheroes will be donated to the Smilow Cancer Hospital or a children’s hospital.
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