By Karen Zautyk
It’s that time of year again: Time to start preparing for the annual, and everpopular, Projection Graduation event held in June for the Kearny High School graduating class.
Preparing now? For an event in June?
Fact is, there’s a great deal of prep work, not only for the graduation night party, but for attendant fund-raisers held throughout the year. And the program is in need of volunteers.
Whatever your particular talent or interest, be assured that Project Graduation will welcome your participation. A number of vols have been, or are, parents of KHS students, but that’s not a prerequisite. If you’re a responsible adult who would like to get involved in a worthwhile community effort, you are invited to the Project Graduation kick-off meeting on Thursday, Jan. 31. It will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the faculty lounge at KHS.
“We need a lot of people, said, Project Grad President Steve Dyl, who also happens to be Kearny’s fire chief. “There are many different ways to help,” he noted, explaining that volunteers will be needed for the annual fund-raising volleyball tournament in April, for an Atlantic City bus trip in February and to help sell the 50/50 raffle tickets from now until June, when the drawing will be held.
Then there’s the Project Graduation party itself. which begins right after the commencement ceremonies and continues all graduation night. The kids are brought back to town at about 6 a.m. – exhausted but happy.
The alcohol-free, drug-free fest is held in a secret location (the better to discourage party-crashers). It begins with a pizza party and ends with a breakfast, both catered by the Kearny Education Association. And in between there is “more food than you can imagine,” Dyl said, most of it donated by Applebee’s.
There are also more fun activities than you can imagine, including but not limited to: dancing, video-production, swimming, racquetball, T-shirt designing, various competitions (like jousting or running an obstacle course), and even the chance to experience hypnotism.
Coordinators and planners and chaperones are all needed for the party, which last year drew more than 300 grads. Typically, Dyl said, about 80% of each graduating class elects to attend.
Project Graduation was launched in Kearny in 1996 as a safer alternative to private house parties. The idea was been prompted by a serious graduation night car crash on Kearny Ave. in which several teens were injured.
Since ’96, it has been going strong. But it needs your help to remain successful. Even if you are just curious about what volunteering might entail, the Jan. 31 meeting is the way to find out.
Basic theme for the session: “Okay, folks, here’s all the jobs we need to fill. Here’s what you can do.”
And if you have questions, you can call Dyl at 201- 991- 7467.