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Project Graduation offers safe post-graduation celebration
Farragut, Bearden having night-long celebration at Fort Sanders Health

In response to an alarming number of alcohol and drug related fatalities following commencement exercises, the town of Oxford Hills, Maine, initiated a school/community coalition and implemented a new program called Project Graduation.

Twenty five years later, numerous communities nationwide have adopted Project Graduation, and statistics have proven that this program is a success.

Project Graduation is a drug and alcohol free post-graduation, night-long celebration. The graduates participate in contests, games and other clean entertainment while chaperones assure that they remain safe. Project Graduation isn’t just a celebration that occurs on graduation night, but rather a community based event that strives to create a caring, supportive environment for the graduates while emphasizing prudent decision-making regarding drinking and driving.

Project Graduation event organizer and parent Jack Howarth said, “These kids have a feeling of invincibility on graduation day, and we now have the opportunity to take them all away and keep them safe together for one last night.”

One year after Project Graduation began in Oxford Hills, Maine, there were no fatalities, no alcohol-related injuries and no arrests for driving under the influence, compared to seven deaths the previous year. On the basis of these results, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to support national conferences promoting Project Graduation.

Project Graduation is sponsored by senior parents, and supported by the PTSO, community businesses and organizations as well as private donations.

Farragut High School senior Annie Murphree, is was looking forward to the event, said, “I’m definitely going, and looking forward to it.” The graduates participate in drawings for prizes, and food and drinks are also provided.

Murphree added, “Hopefully Project Graduation will help out-weigh the sadness of graduation. It’s our last official night of high school, but at least we will all be together.”

The Project Graduation events for the 2004 graduates will be held at Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center. Seniors can purchase a ticket for Project Graduation for $10. Tickets will be sold at the school during lunch periods. Dates and times for Project Graduation are as follows: Bearden High School: Friday, May 21, 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.; Farragut High School: Saturday, May 22, 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.


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