CCLP/ BRITTANY FHOLER - Mike Rellinger, 18, tries to catch money and coupons in the Cash Cube attraction at the 2016 CCHS Project Graduation held Friday night at the high school.


Seniors celebrate graduation with alcohol/drug free party
Cove Leader-Press
Hundreds of new Copperas Cove High School graduates showed up to have fun at the 2016 CCHS Project Graduation held overnight at the high school Friday.
Almost 500 students graduated from CCHS on Friday and more than half, 243, pre-registered to attend Project Graduation, with an additional 75 graduates walking in and paying at the door, according to Katrina Clemons, president of the group who coordinated the whole thing.
Project Graduation, an alcohol-free, drug-free, adult-supervised alternative to typical graduation parties, was originally planned to be at the Christian House of Prayer’s Camp Triumph but moved to the high school due to possible inclement weather.
“It’s a little chaotic and we’re lacking a few things but kids seem to be having fun, beating each other up and fighting over basketballs,” Clemons said. Clemons also helped plan the 2011 Project Graduation.
Preregistration cost $5 while the at-the-door cost was $20. Those who preregistered received an Army drawstring bag provided by Army recruiters, along with a water bottle, lanyard, coupons and a gray Project Graduation t-shirt. Volunteers wore a neon yellow version of the shirt.
Project Graduation has been in the works for almost 11 months.
“We’ve been working our butts off since the beginning of the school year,” volunteer Bonnie Alger said.
Volunteers raised $24,000 in cash and $10,000 in donations and raffle prizes, according to group treasurer Eddie Wilson. There were almost 90 volunteers this year, not including school administration, Wilson said.
In addition to parent volunteers, there were also 14 soldiers total from several units in the 1st Cavalry Division, including the 115 Brigade Support Battalion and the 91st Brigade Engineer Battalion as well as the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment which adopted Copperas Cove High school through the Adopt-a-School program, manning various activity stations around the high school as well as Law Enforcement Explorers volunteers.
Activities at Project Graduation included Bubble Soccer, a giant 18-foot inflatable slide, a Cash Cube, an inflatable jousting, an inflatable baseball batting game, an inflatable basketball court, games of Bingo and a photo booth.
Food included pizza, chips and cake. Each student who attended Project Graduation was entered into raffle drawings with over 150 prizes which included mini fridges, iHomes, NutriNinja blender, portable speakers, Go-Pro, selfie sticks, printers, a gaming system, TVs, Keurig K-Cup machines, 10 FitBits, Apple TVs and gift baskets and gift cards. Also available were eight laptops and three iPads.
Students were able to win cash and coupons in the Cash Cube.
Joseph George, 18, said he won $45 plus some coupons to Whataburger in the Cash Cube.
Heather Gilbert, 18, and Mike Rellinger, 18, also won a few coupons from the Cash Cube plus “two crisp dollar bills,” Rellinger said.
Gilbert said they attended last year because juniors were able to come.
“We came with my best friend and had a blast,” Gilbert said. “They had so many fun activities and we had a lot of fun. It’s a great way to spend time with our friends before we go, our last moments together.”


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