Project Graduation, the party put on by Smith-Cotton High senior parents for members of the graduating class and their guests after commencement, is a fun, safe celebration where the graduates get to say their last farewells.
S-C’s commencement is at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Mathewson Exhibition Center on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. Project Graduation follows at about 10:30 p.m. in the high school gym and will go until Sunday morning.
The drug- and alcohol-free party has been a tradition at Smith-Cotton High School for more than 30 years. The theme and entertainment are kept a surprise from all of the students, to make the party more exciting. No one wants to give up the mystery of Project Graduation and spoil the fun of it.
“I can’t reveal any secrets, but I can promise lots of entertainment, tons of food, great decorations and memories to last a lifetime,” said Andrea Eppenauer, Spanish teacher at Smith-Cotton.
Fundraising is an important step in planning Project Graduation. Seniors get to attend the event free of charge. The Class of 2013 volunteers left money to start off this year, and the senior parents put on a chicken dinner fundraiser in November. The dinner cost $100 for two people.
“I believe around $30,000 is normally raised,” said Stacy Curry, a senior parent on the Decorating Committee.
Eppenauer said she believes that anything parents can do to encourage the idea that you can have fun without drugs or alcohol is a valuable lesson in life. And really, that’s what Project Graduation is about.
“It’s one last hoorah for the graduating class before they go their own ways,” said Deana Pomajzl, also on the Decorating Committee.