Greenfield Civic Center, 599 El Camino Real, Greenfield (Sean Roney)

GREENFIELD — Greenfield City Council approved a $4,000 donation for Greenfield High School’s Sober Grad Night during its latest meeting April 27.

Of concern was the pandemic-caused shortfall in fundraising so far for an altered event.

During normal years, Sober Grad Night would last all night and cost between $12,000 and $18,000, with the city pitching in less than this year’s donation amount. However, the adjusted event will be held at the high school parking lot from 2 to 7 p.m. Because of the shortened schedule, this year’s event is expected to cost $6,900.

Due to the pandemic making fundraisers almost impossible for a majority of the past school year, the Sober Grad committee has only raised about $1,605 toward that goal. Last year, the city donated $3,750.

“Since we were unable to do any fundraisers this year, we are hurting for funds,” the committee stated in a letter to the council. “We cannot let our students down!”

Irene Garcia, a member of the Sober Grad committee, said they are in “dire straits this year because we were unable to do any kind of fundraising.”

“Last year we were cut off on our fundraising event,” Garcia added. “… We decided to issue some sweatshirts with Greenfield High School logo on it and their names on the back of the graduating class. That was 240 students and our cost then was $6,789.”

With 293 GHS graduates this year, the expected cost for the sweater option would be $9,000.

Garcia said the committee contacted their counterparts in King City and discovered with one sausage takeout sale, the high school made more than $20,000.

“We did one about two years ago for sausage, we were happy to get $2,000,” Garcia said.

She added that Greenfield’s Sober Grad Night is free to students, while King City High’s costs $25 at the door.

“Greenfield has a lot of work to do as far as getting the community to rally for our students,” Garcia said.

“They really do have a lot of help from the growers and the ranchers and it’s unfortunate we really don’t have that here,” said Mayor Lance Walker about the difference in support between KCHS and GHS.

Mayor Pro Tem Angela Untalon added that in addition to large sponsor support, the community engagement is also lower in the northern city.

“Greenfield is just not a community that’s willing to donate their time,” Untalon said. “I know that Irene, Avelina, Bea, they dedicate their time and they don’t have kids in high school. They do this because no one will step up and they do it because they love their community. … Our community is not known for people showing up.”

Untalon wanted to move forward with a donation of $6,000 in order to get the committee to not only meet their goal, but also have the funding flexibility to add more offerings for the students.

“Our seniors lost a lot more this year than our seniors lost last year, they didn’t have a senior year,” she said. “There’s no dances, there’s no football games, there’s no activities, no FFA. None of their yearly activities went on this year.”

Councilmember Robert White disagreed on the basis that city donations have always been lower, and that $4,000 would already be an increase. He added that there is time for the committee to seek donations or host a fundraiser.

Mayor Walker and Councilmember Drew Tipton agreed.

Tipton motioned for a $4,000 donation with the caveat that if the committee is in need of more funding, they can return to the city council at a later time for assistance. The motion passed 4-0.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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