Project Graduation 2017 regroups, seeks supporters
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Project Graduation 2017 committee has had a slow start in raising money funds this school year, but held its first meeting under new leadership Tuesday evening at the CCHS cafeteria.
The committee is now under the leadership of Charles and Dorothy Lyons, who helped organize the 2012 and 2013 Project Graduation events. Charles and Dorothy have a granddaughter who is graduating this year and took over after the previous organizers stepped down at a meeting last week, Charles Lyons said. Before last week’s meeting, the Planning Committee had not met since October 2016, according to Lyons.
At Tuesday’s meeting, it was revealed that the committee had only raised $60 so far, with just over 90 days left until graduation. Lyons managed to convince one of the parent volunteers to donate $1 at the meeting, bringing the total up to $61.
The total amount so far can “deflate you or inflate your motivation,” Lyons said. He hoped it would inflate and was confident the committee would be successful in raising enough money for Copperas Cove’s high school graduates to enjoy their Project Graduation come May 25, graduation night.
Project Graduation, an alcohol-free, supervised allnight after-party, is scheduled for the evening of graduation, Thursday May 25 at the high school cafeteria with doors opening for students at 11 p.m. Doors are closed from midnight until 6 a.m. Friday.
“The intent is to make sure all of our graduates leave their graduation, come to Project Graduation, go home the next day and be available for their very first class reunion,” Lyons said.
This sentiment was echoed by CCHS senior Rebecca Boyd, one of the only seniors at Tuesday’s meeting, with her mother, Paula Ramos.
Boyd said she wanted to help plan Project Graduation and make sure it happens because it helps keep the new graduates safe from drunk driving the night of graduation.
“With this Project Graduation, it’s a way for me to make sure my friends stay safe after graduation and that they don’t get hurt because yes, we might lose contact but I would like to make their last day as a student in high school fun,” Boyd said.
Ramos said anybody could help with the planning, not just parents of a senior.
“It takes a village to raise a kid,” Ramos said. “Just because you don’t have a student doesn’t mean you don’t care about people’s safety.”
Lyons brought up the possibility of having parents of junior students help with organizing so that they know what to do when their child has their own Project Graduation.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the committee scheduled the next meeting for March 7 at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria and decided to continue holding planning meetings every two weeks until May 2, when the meetings would begin being held weekly. Lyons encouraged each parent and student to bring someone new to the next meeting to help spread the word.
By the next meeting, the committee will have student surveys ready for seniors to fill out to give the committee an idea of what they want for their project graduation.
The group also tossed around ideas for fundraising. Every year, the committee normally has a gift-wrapping fundraiser right before Christmas, but the committee didn’t hold one this school year. At Tuesday’s meeting, Lyons pointed out that if every adult in Cove donated just one dollar, the committee could raise over $25,000.
Other possible fundraising ideas included car washes, garage sales, “Dollars for Scholars” donation jars, and bake sales.
The group went over their marketing plan which includes letters to students and parents, posters, emails, and utilizing Facebook as well as the CCISD webpage. Over the next 90 days, the community will be “inundated with Project Graduation,” Lyons said.
“The Copperas Cove High School Project Graduation Planning Committee has started kind of slow this year, so we have an opportunity now to make up that time with fundraising, donations, and sponsorships,” Lyons said. “Our intent over the next 90 days is to raise enough money to have a quality Project Graduation ceremony for our graduates.”
Lyons added that the committee will rely on residents of Cove as well as surrounding communities for anything those communities are willing to give.
For more information on future meetings, the committee has a Facebook page: Copperas Cove Project Graduation 2017. They also are available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles and Dorothy Lyons also welcome phone calls at (254) 290-0730 or (254) 290- 0679.
Sponsorships or donations can be sent to: Project Graduation, P.O. Box 1174, Copperas Cove, TX 76522.
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