Project Grad Night takes off and offers our graduating seniors a night to remember. The idea is to provide a fun-filled evening, without drugs or alcohol involved, as a way to promote celebrating life’s milestones without feeling like you have to be “under the influence” to have a good time.
This community sponsored event starts in the planning phases at least a year before these new grads get their diploma. Parents and community members alike, support this program with fundraising efforts and perfecting the right combination of activities for their upcoming seniors. Part of the success of this event is to keep it all a surprise for the soon to be grads, so it adds to the “natural high” and excitement they’ll experience on their big night with their classmates. Students look forward to this evening and this year we had 62 out of 64 seniors attend!
Thanks to our Executive Coordinator, Cynthia Stark-Wickman, Project Grad Night was implemented on San Juan Island in 2010. Cynthia had heard of this national program when her daughters were seniors in Hawaii and we had some concerned parents of soon to be grads in 2009, express their worries that the youth would just create “their own fun”. Perhaps alcohol would be served and what is suppose to be a big night of celebrating is often cut short, either parties being broken up by police or worst, someone driving under the influence and a car crash is involved. Project Grad Night quickly became something the youth looked forward to and the buzz around it outweighed the “party circuit” on Graduation Night.
Recently, Sheriff Ron Krebs spoke at our Board of Trustees meeting about the success of this event and how his Deputies thanked the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition for supporting this innovative program. He commented that we have not had any car crashes involving youth on Graduation Night since this program started over 17 years ago! We are grateful the community rallies around the youth and helps support the costs to offer such cool and exciting adventures! This year, the Class of 2017 took flight…soaring to new heights with a 45 minutes flight around the islands. The weather couldn’t have been better!
Thank you to all whom contribute to making Project Grad Night a resounding success each year! Congratulations to the Class of 2017!