As local high school seniors prepare to bid adieu to their respective schools, the freedom just around the corner is something they’ll want to celebrate. Unfortunately, that celebration can often lead to dangerous situations involving drugs and alcohol — situations that have cut short too many promising futures.
That is why for the past three decades, parents and volunteers have hosted Project Graduation events across the country, offering a drug- and alcohol-free evening of fun for high school seniors on graduation night.
Project Graduation’s roots can be traced to a community in Maine in 1980, a year after seven teenagers died from drug- or alcohol-related incidents during commencement season. Because of its early success, the idea spread quickly. A year later, a dozen Project Graduation events took place in Maine, and the number continued to grow each subsequent year until it became the staple of American high school graduation nights that it is now. Though every school’s event is different, common elements include games, music and dancing, food and plenty of prizes. There’s more than enough incentive to keep graduates from taking any unnecessary risks at other parties.
There are several Project Graduation parties planned locally — and it’s not too late to get involved! Information on area high school Project Graduation events is as follows:
• Wellington High School — Wellington High School’s Project Graduation will take place Monday, May 21 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. at Wellington Village Park. The cost is $10 and includes a T-shirt. For more information, contact Susanne Bennett at (561) 670-0840 or email@example.com.
• Royal Palm Beach High School — Project Graduation is free for RPBHS seniors and will take place Monday, May 21 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. at the Royal Palm Beach Cultural Center. For more information, call Kim Torrieri at (561) 358-7577 or Dawn Bullock at (561) 385-0979.
• Palm Beach Central High School — Palm Beach Central’s Project Graduation will take place Wednesday, May 23 from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. at Wellington Village Park. Admission is free for Bronco seniors. For a $20.12 donation, students receive a T-shirt and a senior DVD; for $7, students receive a T-shirt only. Students must wear T-shirts to the event. For more information, call (561) 704-3978 or (561) 307-5485, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.pbcprojectgrad.org.
• Seminole Ridge High School — For Seminole Ridge, Project Graduation will take place Thursday, May 24 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the school. The cost is $20.12 (cash only). Donations are still being accepted. For more information, contact Cindi Walker at (561) 358-8118 or email@example.com.
Of course, before the fun takes place, students have another event to attend earlier in the day — their graduation ceremony. Area high schools will hold their graduation ceremonies on the following dates at the South Florida Fairgrounds: Royal Palm Beach High School, Monday, May 21 at 8 a.m.; Wellington High School, Monday, May 21 at 4:30 p.m.; Palm Beach Central High School, Wednesday, May 23 at 8 a.m.; and Seminole Ridge High School, Thursday, May 24 at 8 a.m.
Congratulations, 2012 graduates. Have fun, stay safe — and good luck!