Chat with the organizers of Project Graduation
May 8, 2008
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Parent organizers of Project Graduation, the drug- and alcohol-free post-graduation party, will chat with readers Thursday, May 8.
Colleen Gregoire, Trisha Brabender, Gail Vick and Adriane Gill are scheduled to answer questions online at 1:30 p.m. Questions can be submitted online any time until the chat ends.
Graduates from all Lawrence high schools - Free State, Lawrence High, Veritas Christian School, Bishop Seabury Academy and the Lawrence Virtual School - are invited to the event from 10 p.m. May 25 to 3 a.m. May 26 at Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St.
Traditionally, up to three-fourths of graduates attend the event, which includes food, dancing, games and prizes. Jack Ellena Honda has donated a black 1994 Honda Del Sol as the grand prize this year.
Hi. Our thanks to Colleen Gregoire, Gail Vick, Trisha Brabender, Adriane Gill from Project Graduation for joining us. This is 6News Director Cody Howard. I'll be moderating today's chat.
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the online chat. We are excited about the plans in progress for Project Graduation, scheduled for Sunday May 25, 10:00 pm to 3:00 am at Abe and Jakes.
How many kids normally attend the party, and have you done anything this year to try to increase attendance?
The attendance last year was over 500. We anticipate as many if not more students attending this year. We have added to our entertainment selections to encourage more students to attend.
What are some of the other prizes offered at Project Grad, and how are they paid for? Is there some kind of Project Grad fundraising throughout the year?
Our fundraising efforts really begin in January, with a mailing to businesses and parents of seniors. The response has been fabulous! Over 200 area businesses have donated cash gifts, certificates or prize items, to date totalling over $24,000. PLUS Jack Ellena Honda has donated the 1994 Honda Del Sol as the grand prize. Parents have donated nearly $4,000 in cash, which will be used, in addition to the business cash donations, to purchase entertainment and prize items for the evening. Our goal is to provide a prize to every student who attends.
Are you still looking for donations? If so, how much more? What is needed? And, what do people or businesses do if they want to make a donation?
Because of our commitment to giving every student a prize, we are still in need of cash donations and age appropriate prize items. If they would like to make a donation, please contact any of the 4 Co-Chairs, or send your donation to Project Graduation, PO Box 3083, Lawrence, KS 66046-0083. Ideally, donations should be received May 16th.
We are also in need of volunteers for the event. Please contact us if you would like to make a gift of your time that evening.
Tell us more about the entertainment planned for the evening...
For the first year ever, we will have an emphasis on video entertainment, including a PS2, a PS3 and a WII game systems, with Rock Band and Guitar Hero games. Entertainment will also include Casino Games of Black Jack, Poker, and Roulette; Hoolie ball (new), 2 cash cages, Karaoke, dancing to the DJ, and the ever popular Mechanical Bull. The PS3 and the WII game systems will be given away as prizes at the end of the evening. Providing a cool place for all the seniors to celebrate together is probably one of the best entertainment elements.
Could you estimate how many grads stay until the end of the event -- and are there any concerns about the kids who leave early?
We estimate that at least 80% of the students stay until the end of the event. We encourage students to stay as long as possible, because we are providing a drug and alcohol free environment. As parents, we always have concerns about teens being out on the road late at night -- that's why we do encourage them to stay until the grand prize giveaway at 3:00 am. For those students who leave early, we do provide security in the parking lot to make sure they get to their cars safely.
Do you have any interesting data or evidence (or stories from parents who have volunteered in the past) about how Project Graduation prevented students from drinking on graduation night?
National statistics show that Graduation night can be the deadliest night for students to be out on the roads after partying with friends. Our high attendance rate (nearly 75%) of area graduating seniors helps insure the safety of our students and our community. Students are only admitted to Project Graduation between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., and are not allowed to remain if they shows signs of drug or alcohol use. In that event, parents or guardians would be contacted.
There was a mention earlier about contacting the 4 Co-Chairs of Project Graduation about volunteering. Can you please pass along that information?
Our contact information is:
Colleen Gregoire, email@example.com
Trisha Brabender, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gail Vick, email@example.com
Adriane Gill, firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there any other place this can be held? My daughter attended last year and I to went the lines for games are way to long and it was very hot in Abe and Jakes. It's a good idea but it's gotten really big and alot of kids don't even get to participate in stuff because of the over crowding.
This event used to be at the Granada, and the attendance outgrew that space. Project Graduation moved to Abe & Jakes in 2004, and has proved to be the most successful and accomodating space available in Lawrence. We have added extra entertainment and an additional cash cage to minimize long lines. We changed the method of prize distribution, and more game systems entertainment areas, so hopefully students won't be waiting so long.
Our thanks to the Co-Chairs of Project Graduation for joining us for today's chat.
Thank you, Cody, and many thanks to everyone who has offered their support to make the 2008 Project Graduation a success. This event would not be possible without our community support and parent volunteers. Special thanks to the World Company for their generous support sponsoring the venue for the event, and providing a scholarship to one lucky student.