When Spring rolls around, only one thing is on the minds of highschool seniors across the country: GRADUATION! As a rite ofpassage, graduation night is unequaled in the eyes of youth. It is anight to be proud, to celebrate past achievements, and to look forward to thefuture. But some teens mistakenly think that the best way to celebrate ongraduation night is to drink alcohol. In the past, graduation parties involvingalcohol have left some graduating seniors with hangovers, embarrassingmemories, and in trouble with their parents, friends, and/or the police. Someothers were not so lucky. There were 15 teenagers killed in alcohol relatedcrashes in Maine's 1997 graduation season.
Graduation parties should be fun, not fatal. The idea of all night, chemicalfree graduation partes is not new. Oregon high schools have sponsored suchparties for graduating seniors for 50 years.
The name "Project Graduation" was coined twenty years ago by planners inMaine, where a total of eighteen people had died during two graduationseasons due to alcohol-related crashes. Maine's first Project Graduationwas such a success that high schools throughout the State adopted similarprograms, and "Project Graduation" became a generic name for thechemical-free graduation parties that have started a new tradition -celebrating safely.
All school-related functions are supposed to be chemical-free, but whatmakes Project Graduation different is the attitude of the students. Theyhave made a conscious decision to enjoy their graduation night withoutalcohol or drugs. And no other group, including parents and schoolpersonnel, can make that decision for students.
It should be noted that the graduation party suggestions in the pages thatfollow can be used to plan chemical-free activities throughout the year.While celebrating safely has been referred to as "Project Graduation," you'll find that this approach is equally effective for planning homecomings, proms,Halloween carnivals, victory dances, and other celebrations.