LAHAINA - At the beginning of every school year, the Lahainaluna High School PTSA and Project Graduation Committee start planning the ultimate graduation party.
Project Graduation is a program offered by many high schools around the United States. Planned, adult-supervised and substance-free activities are provided as part of a post-graduation party, giving graduates a safe, fun place to celebrate their last night together as high school students. It is a great alternative to other events where drugs and alcohol are involved.
This year's event will begin immediately after commencement on May 19 and last into the early hours of the following morning.
In an ongoing program, Kimo’s Restaurant honors “Staff of the Month” at Lahainaluna High School. Winners receive lei, plaques and Kimo’s gift certificates. Pictured, from left, are Laura Blears of Kimo’s; honorees Tara Otomo, Pomaika‘i Krueger and Hawea Kahahane; and LHS PCNC Facilitator Martina Nagasako.
Project Graduation originated in Maine, prompted by events that occurred the previous year. Seven alcohol- and drug-related teen deaths took place during the commencement season.
According to SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), "nearly three-quarters of students (72 percent) have consumed alcohol by the end of high school, and more than a third (37 percent) have done so by eighth grade."
In turn, defending the lives of our graduates becomes even more important.
At Lahainaluna High School, Project Graduation continues to increase in popularity, offering the students a night of fun events, food, great prizes and some of Hawaii's top music acts performing at the venues.
This year's attendance numbers are at an all-time high, with sign-up forms for the event being accepted all the way until the night of graduation.
It is estimated that over 70 percent of Lahainaluna's 200-plus graduating class will be participating this year. The cost of attendance is lower than at many other schools because of the fundraising activities of the PTSA. The Title Guaranty Golf Tournament is the largest benefit of the year.
As a beneficiary of the tournament, the PTSA and Project Graduation Committee were able to raise over $15,000 for Project Graduation this year alone.
The success of the event is only made possible with the support of local businesses and community members. We would like to send out a very warm mahalo nui loa to everyone who has assisted along the way.
Continued funding and parent involvement are always needed to help plan and execute the tournament and the event on the night of graduation.
Parents that have, or will have, upcoming high school freshmen, sophomores and juniors are especially encouraged to get involved. A chairperson and committee members for next year's event (2014) are sought.
If you would like to get involved with the event, contact PTSA President Kim Scott at lahainalunaptsa@gmail .com or 283-9664.