CHHS junior and senior parents host Project Graduation following the high school graduation ceremony May 21, 2021


Project Graduation is an overnight event targeted with the purpose of keeping students safe and off the streets. 


Project Grad is an all night celebration for high school juniors and seniors that provides an intoxicant-free environment for them to enjoy time with their classmates before they embark on their post-high school journeys,” junior parent and Project Grad president Tammy Sanders said. “Our goal is to keep students safe during one of the highest fatality nights of the year.”


Project Grad will be held at Central Heights High School from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. 


“Once students arrive, they will be asked to turn in their keys and remain at the event all night long,” senior parent and prize committee chair Tonya Turnage said. 


The event is open to all junior and senior Central Heights students only. 


“Seniors do not have to pay to attend Project Graduation,” junior parents and project grad donations chair Gwen Powers said. “However, juniors will be required to pay $20 unless they have participated in at least two fundraisers.” 


For the past several years, Project Graduation has been led by 2020 graduate parent Brandy Crisp, however new leaders have stepped in. 


“I am overseeing the Project this year,” Sanders said. “My primary goal is to communicate with each crew area and finalize all plans.”


However, this big event is nothing short of a team effort. 


“Mrs. Turnage and I have been working on fundraising and organizing prizes,” Powers said. “In addition there are also volunteer parents helping with subcommittee’s such as the casino activities, food, donations and prizes.” 


This year’s project graduation is casino themed with blackjack, roulette and craps where students will have the opportunity to compete for prizes. 


“Students will use poker chips to play the casino games,” Turnage said. “At the end of the night, they will have the opportunity to turn in their poker chips for tickets to earn large prizes.” 


Dealers will be at the event to assist with rules on casino games. 

“Students don’t need to worry if they don’t know how to play,” Turnage said. “Our dealers will assist with learning the rules.” 


In addition, there will be many other games that are not casino themed.


“There will be a caricature artist, mechanical bull, axe throwing, obstacle course, washers, volleyball and dodgeball tournaments,” Sanders said. “Students need to be on the lookout in the next couple of weeks to sign up their teams for the tournaments.”


Students do not need to worry because there will be plenty of food and drinks at the event. 


“We promise to have lots of food and drinks for everyone to enjoy throughout the night and into the morning including chicken nuggets, BBQ or Burgers, chips, tons of cookies, donuts, hopefully breakfast tacos, sodas, water, tea, lemonade, and a coffee and candy bar,” Turnage said. “Also, many local restaurants have really stepped up to provide food items for the event, including Be Blessed BBQ, Newks, Castilaw Cookies, Thumpers, Tome, Raising Canes and Nac Burger.” 


After beginning with an unfavorable start, project grad made a remarkable leap in its fundraising goals. 


“We started the year with $37 in our bank account and we thought it was going to be a challenge raising the money needed for the event,” Turnage said. “However we have actually exceeded our fundraising goals and have the money needed to provide a successful night.” 


Fundraising began last semester with a poinsettia sale.


“Our first big fundraiser was the poinsettia sale,” Turnage said. “It was a first for us, but turned out to be a huge money maker.”


To date, the largest fundraiser has been the 50/50 raffle tickets to win a cash prize at the 2021 homecoming basketball game. 


“We sold over 700 tickets, earning the winner $7,000 and our committee $7,000,” Turnage said. 


Fundraising efforts have almost been completely met.


“We are in the process of doing a couple more spirit nights at local restaurants that I think will complete our fundraising efforts,” Powers said. “We have been astonished by all the local donations we are receiving, and they have definitely helped us to meet our goal.”

The money collected from donations and fundraising efforts will be used to provide food, games and mainly prizes.


“Our goal is for every junior and senior student that comes to the event to take home a prize,” Turnage said. “We have had great success thus far collecting monetary and prize donations from community members and local businesses.”


Students should look forward to the prizes they will have the opportunity to earn. 


“We will have prizes based on the feedback from the Seniors,” Sanders said. “Students could earn TVs, mini fridge, luggage and a microwave, a possible VR game system, and much more.” 


There will be two main surprise items students will have to attend to reveal. 


“Well, we have one to two grand prizes that we aren’t releasing details on yet,” Sanders said. “My jaw dropped when I heard about them in the works!”