It has always been one the biggest fears for school officials. A student dons his cap and gown, walks across the stage to pick up his diploma and then goes to a party.
At the party, the recent graduate drinks a little alcohol to celebrate, then gets into his car and takes off.
A short time later, he is in an accident.
That scenario actually unfolded for Yukon High School in 1988, said Heather Baldwin.
That prompted parents to begin looking for a safe alternative where grads could party throughout the night, but still stay safe while having fun.
Project Graduation was born.
The annual event is planned for May 24 and will be held on the grounds of Redlands Community College in El Reno.
“This is to keep our seniors safe,” said Baldwin, who is president of this year’s event.
Baldwin doesn’t have a senior this year, but does have a junior and sophomore, and plans to remain involved until after they graduate.
During Tuesday’s planning meeting, about a dozen or so parents turned out to find out where plans and fundraising stand for the annual event.
Project Graduation costs nothing for the students to attend, but costs the organization about $20,000 to put on.
The money is raised through a variety of fundraisers, including one next weekend called the Project Graduation Potato Bar.
The potato bar is done in coordination with Johnnie’s Charcoal Broiler, which donates the potatoes and trimmings; the Yukon Masonic Lodge, which does all of the cooking; and dozens of volunteers who help set-up, clean-up and serve the customers.
The event is held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10 at the Masonic Lodge. Tickets are $5 for all-you-can-eat potatoes, along with a drink and dessert.
All of the proceeds go to Project Graduation.
In addition, the organization will host an auction on April 14 to raise funds.
There also will a silent, live and desserts auction, said Baldwin.
That event will be held at the Yukon High School cafeteria.
Other fundraising events are still in the planning stages, she said.
In all, the group needs to raise about $20,000 to make the event a success. Thus far, they have about $12,000 in the bank.
The money helps provide a small monetary gift to each graduate, as well as pays for the venue and various activities.
“Everyone has an amazing time,” said Baldwin.
Last year, about 300 students attended Project Graduation.
For more information about Project Graduation, contact Baldwin at 317-6759.
If You Go
Project Graduation Potato Bar
When: Saturday, March 10.
Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Yukon Masonic Lodge, 1201 E. Main
Cost: $5 per person, all-you-can-eat baked potato, drink and dessert
Benefits: Yukon’s 2018 Project Graduation