Inside Project Graduation: What It Is, What to Know

With graduation quickly approaching, seniors are preparing their own graduation celebrations and family-filled events. But in the midst of all of this planning, the school is planning its own graduation party, known as Project Graduation.

“Graduation is a time for celebration and lasting memories,” Tina Wheaton, Project Graduation coordinator, said. “Unfortunately, graduation night is statistically the deadliest driving night nationwide for high school seniors. For many years, DSHS parent volunteers have run Project Graduation exclusively for our graduating seniors.” 

But why was Project Graduation even started?

“The mission of Project Grad is to turn [graduation] into the safest night of the year by providing an all-night lock-in event where Seniors can have fun, spend time together, win prizes, and stay safe and off the roads,” Wheaton said. 

Project Graduation has had about a 25% attendance rate in the past two to three years, but prior to that between 50-60% of the senior population attended.

“We will have several activities brought in, like Silent Disco, DJ, laser tag/nerf war set up, movies…and more,” Wheaton said. “If you have something you’d like, please contact with requests.” 

In a survey taken at the start of February, about 25% of seniors were not planning on going, with about 25% thinking that they would go. The last 50% were undecided.

“And just as important,” Wheaton said, “We will be giving away [money], tv’s, laptops, college refrigerators, gift cards, and more!  We are working to ensure this is a free event for all seniors this year as well.”

But all of those prizes cost money. Wheaton says that Project Graduation typically costs between $25-30 thousand, which includes the venue, food, transportation if needed, activities, raffles, and prizes. But how can people help out?

“Donate,” Wheaton said, “Time, money, and/or food.  Spread the word about how great an event this is and encourage your seniors to attend.”

About 50% of the senior body knows what Project Graduation is, with 18.8% having no idea and 31.3% knowing very little.

“Family that came in for the event, will most likely go home to catch some ‘z’s’ before a weekend of graduation parties begin,” Wheaton said, “As for your friends – encourage them to come. Make one last night of memories together before you head your separate ways.”

By Cady Russell, Online and Social Media Editor

Featured photo by Enrique Bermudez

The featured photo shows the school’s first Winter Formal, which raised money for Project Graduation.

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