The end is near.
After it's all over, one lucky student will drive away with a 1989 Ford Bronco II while others take home stereos, appliances, money, gift certificates and other prizes.
On the last night that Lawrence high school seniors will be together as the class of 1998, they will have the opportunity to attend the largest party of the year: Project Graduation.
``It's a safe environment that's drug- and alcohol-free,'' organizer Mary Winter said.
Seniors from Lawrence High School, Free State High School and Lawrence Alternative High School are eligible to attend the free party, which begins at 11 p.m. May 24 and ends at 4 a.m. May 25.
Students must show identification to enter the party. Students from other schools cannot attend.
A DJ will spin tunes and students can dance, play pool, black jack and other games and participate in arm wrestling and a basketball free-throw shootout. Temporary tattooing, costumes and party pictures will be included in the festivities.
All students are eligible to win prizes. Eight to 10 prizes will be awarded every hour during the party.
More than $4,000 in contributions has been received, and Lawrence area businesses, including the Lawrence Journal-World, Gould Evans, Hallmark, McDonald's, Allied Signal, American Express Financial Advisors, Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, and University National Bank have provided a total of $5,000 in cash, prizes and party support. In addition, Lawrence area businesses have donated gift certificates, merchandise and money.
``It's a community event,'' Winter said. ``It's supporting our seniors, and it's important to show that it's possible to have a good time without drugs and alcohol.''
So far, organizers have rounded up a computer, microwave oven, compact disc players, television and other small electronic appliances to be raffled. The Journal-World and DCCCA will each give away a $500 scholarship.
Laird Noller employee Gary Bennett said the dealership decided to donate a car that students would find appealing.
``I asked my daughter and some of her friends what kind of car they would like to drive and they all said a sports utility vehicle,'' Bennett said.
For more information or to donate items to Project Graduation, contact Marilyn Dobski at 749-1800 or Mary Winter at 843-4479.
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.