Graduation: the word connotes celebration, the coming of age, the end of one phase of life and the beginning of another.
Yet, sometimes the exuberance of the occasion has led to un-desired consequences. The Watchung Hills Regional community, since 1992, has provided a safe outlet for graduation night exuberance, Project Graduation.
Project Graduation is a grand-scale, all-night party which is open and free of cost to all members of Watchung Hills’ Class of 2013 on the night of their graduation, June 20. Even better, the event takes place in a safe, substance-free environment close by: the Morris Union Jointure Commission (MUJC) School in Warren Township.
The new graduates will be bussed from Watchung Hills to the celebration site at 9:30 p.m. and will be returned at 5:30 a.m. the next morning (Once they are at the site, participants must stay until the event ends). All who attend will have had to sign a Code of Conduct pledge.
There will be a full menu of activities at the site, such as swimming, volleyball, basketball, magicians, massages, airbrush tattoos, casino games, boardwalk games, beading, tarot card readers, a hypnotist and a DJ.In addition to the climax event on graduation night, other senior events are staged throughout the year, such as an ice cream social, Senior Breakfast, graduation night buffet dinner, and more tangible souvenirs such as a PG pen, and Lucky ’13 tee shirt.
The activities planned for seniors at Watchung Hills Regional High School throughout the year underscore the value of good, wholesome fun, and above all, the message that alcohol and drugs have no place in their lives.
The concept for Project Graduation is neither a new one, nor local. After the idea was introduced in Maine in 1980, it spread to high schools nationwide. Given the fact that celebrations on graduation night may often lead to unwanted consequences, communities began to see the wisdom of supporting any effort which would offer a sensible outlet for graduation night exuberance in a safe, drug- and alcohol–free environment. For the graduates themselves, it is one last opportunity to gather as a body to celebrate their common, four-year experience.
Needless to say, an event of such magnitude as Project Graduation is costly. That’s where the community comes in: Quite naturally, parents of graduating seniors contribute both time and funds, but area service groups, citizens, friends, corporations and businesses are also requested to make donations. Tax-deductible contributions to Project Graduation can be mailed to Watchung Hills Regional High School, 108 Stirling Road, Warren, NJ 07059. Donors will be thanked in a special insert in the 2013 graduation program.
Mary Lou DiRosa, of Watchung, and Marie Mluzan of Warren, are the (parent) co-chairs of the 2013 Project Graduation Steering Committee. Questions may be addressed to Pat Raibley of Millington, at (908) 903-1644.