Archive for Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Project Graduation party offers prizes, cash to high school seniors

May 16, 2006


No one walks away empty-handed.

That's the promise Project Graduation organizers are making to every high school senior in Lawrence who attends this year's installment of the annual party, where $15,000 in cash and prizes will be doled out.

And chief among the coveted freebies is a 1995 Ford Thunderbird donated by Laird Noller Ford.

"The car's cool," says Alex Folsom, a senior at Free State High School. "I know a lot of kids at school have been talking about the car and are really excited about that."

But Folsom, who plans to attend Kansas University in the fall, has his eye on something smaller.

"I'm hoping to get the laptop because I could really use one," he says.

Also in the grab bag are an Xbox, iPod, refrigerator, microwave, television, scooter and dozens of gift certificates for products and services from local businesses.

As with prizes, entertainment won't be in short supply at the event, scheduled from 10 p.m. Sunday to 3 a.m. Monday at Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St. Among the activities to keep partygoers busy are a casino room with blackjack, roulette and Texas Hold 'Em, a karaoke room, a DJ and dance floor, basketball, faux tattoos, tons of food and beverages - and a 20-person Twister game.

"That should be kind of comical," says Laurie Muder, mother of a Lawrence High School senior and one of four event co-chairs.

Senior parents like Muder organize Project Graduation each year to provide a safe, alcohol- and drug-free environment for their children to celebrate their accomplishments.

Members of the Bishop Seabury Academy senior class surround a 1995 Ford Thunderbird, donated to the school for Project Graduation. Students in the senior class who attend the party that starts Sunday night and ends early Monday will have a chance to win the vehicle.

Members of the Bishop Seabury Academy senior class surround a 1995 Ford Thunderbird, donated to the school for Project Graduation. Students in the senior class who attend the party that starts Sunday night and ends early Monday will have a chance to win the vehicle.

"Prom and graduation nights are typically the most dangerous nights on the road for seniors," Muder says. "In addition to that, of course, we want to place the emphasis on the kids having a great time and celebrating a huge milestone in their life."

Students are attracted to the concept too. Anywhere from 550 to 650 revelers - roughly 75 percent of Lawrence graduates, Muder says - have attended past parties.

"I'm going mainly because I support the idea of a safe way for kids to be together on the last night after graduation," says Folsom, 18. "It's a supervised party, and I think it's better than going out and doing something ridiculous and getting hurt."

About 160 parents volunteer to staff the party, which is open to seniors at Free State and Lawrence high schools, as well as Bishop Seabury Academy, Veritas Christian School and the Lawrence Virtual School.

"I think one of the special things about the way that Lawrence does this is that we bring all the high schools together," Muder says. "A lot of these kids attend elementary and junior high together, and then they get split up to go to different high schools. It's just such a nice thing to bring them back together.

"They put those rivalries away, and they're all just friends again."


Nachtwolf 12 years ago

The car would be nice, but my second choice would be the iPod. That'd save me a good $300.

Linda Endicott 12 years ago

Nothing like bribing the little buggers to do what they should be doing anyway.

If it works with them, maybe we should try it with criminals next.

fletch 12 years ago

the iPod is probably worth more than a 95 Thunderbird... probably has a longer warranty, too.

hilly 12 years ago

My friend won the car at Project Graduation last year, and she already had one, so she gave it our other friend, who has a young child to support. The car was a complete and total lemon, she was going to have to pay a good couple grand to replace everything that was faulty. When she confronted the dealer he told her something to the extent of "THAT'S why we donated the car in the first place".

So in the end, if this car is anything like the last, seniors, don't get your hopes up to much. It's probably crap anyways.

eb 12 years ago

actually, the dealer is really good and his granddaughter is graduating, so i'm pretty sure he'd take care of whoever got it. Be nice, people

eb 12 years ago

plus, this is a different dealer than last time. why do people only post negative comments on here?

Jacob Pool 12 years ago

i completely agree with "eb" everytime i read an article i always read the comments at the bottom and some old people with nothing better to do than complain or say something bad about younger people than them. GET A LIFE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dont be so negative about everything!!!!! Thats all i have to say.......... Thank you and Stop being such A** holes

adavid 12 years ago

hey jay--that sounds like a pretty offense, negative comment perhaps you should swallow a dose of your own medicine? and choke on it, hypocrite

hilly 12 years ago

If you knew me, you'd know that I'm about as far as you can get from being a negative person in general. I'm just telling the story of last years car, which just happens to be a not so great experience. It's not like I have a person vendetta against this dealer. I just stated the truth.

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