Project Graduation is a tradition for many high schools across the nation. These events are all night parties where members of the graduating class have one last chance to see each other before going off to college and the rest of their lives. The program offers a night of adult-supervised, alcohol-free activities, a replacement for high school parties that might not be as safe.
These events have been linked to a noticeable drop in drug-related accidents of graduation nights since their establishment in 1978 in Maine. Since then, Project Graduation has exploded across the nation and has been widely accepted as a safe, chemical-free alternative to graduation parties.
Central and Keller High both have had these parties for years, and both have regularly succeeded with high attendance rates. However, the tradition has yet to take off at Timber Creek.
The Talon reached out to Donna Kirkwood, the Timber Creek coordinator for Project Graduation, and asked her why she thought the event had to be cancelled this year.
“A student body that isn’t united isn’t going to be interested,” Kirkwood said.
Kirkwood places Project Graduation’s failure on the divided graduating class of 2015 at Timber Creek. A lack of marketing, misinformation and overall lack of enthusiasm were all noted as reasons for the cancellation. Of the over 600 students available to attend Project Graduation, only 55 students bought tickets, below the minimum of 75 needed to have the event.
When we asked TCHS seniors about the event, there was some agreement with Kirkwood’s analysis.
“I heard about it, but I really didn’t know anything about it,” said senior Austin Eastman, whose sentiments were echoed by another senior, Ian Keslar.
“I knew what it was, but I didn’t know the dates. I don’t think enough seniors were aware of what exactly was going on,” said Keslar.
Others were very aware of the event. Senior Chase Vison was one of the students to buy a ticket to Project Graduation.
“I did sign up for it, and I did get my money back. I wanted to do it, yeah,” Vison said. “And honestly, I’m kind of disappointed, I don’t know why it didn’t get traction here.”
All 55 students who bought tickets to Project Graduation have been refunded, and their names will be entered into a drawing for ten prizes. These prizes, according to Kirkwood, will include a flat screen television, laptop bundle, Blu-ray DVD player, appliances, gift cards and more. Students who bought tickets are urged to keep an ear out for more news.