When Spring rolls around, only one thing is on the minds of high school seniors
across the country: GRADUATION! As a rite of passage, graduation night
is unequaled in the eyes of youth. It is a night to be proud, to celebrate
past achievements, and to look forward to the future. But some teens
mistakenly think that the best way to celebrate on graduation night
is to drink alcohol. In the past, graduation parties involving alcohol
have left some graduating seniors with hangovers, embarrassing memories,
and in trouble with their parents, friends, and/or the police. Some
others were not so lucky. There were 15 teenagers killed in alcohol
related crashes in Maine's 1997 graduation season.
Graduation parties should be fun, not fatal. The idea of all night,
chemical free graduation parties is not new. Oregon high schools have
sponsored such parties for graduating seniors for 50 years.
The name "Project Graduation" was coined twenty years ago by planners
in Maine, where a total of eighteen people had died during two graduation
seasons due to alcohol-related crashes. Maine's first Project Graduation
was such a success that high schools throughout the State adopted
similar programs, and "Project Graduation" became a generic name for
the chemical-free graduation parties that have started a new tradition
All school-related functions are supposed to be chemical-free, but
what makes Project Graduation different is the attitude of the students.
They have made a conscious decision to enjoy their graduation night
without alcohol or drugs. And no other group, including parents and
school personnel, can make that decision for students.
It should be noted that the graduation party suggestions in the pages
that follow 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