High school graduation is fast approaching and that means many a lot of celebrating for high school seniors. Sadly, those celebrations often lead to decisions that can alter or end young lives.
Graduating high school starts a new chapter of life. The parents cry while their kids smile and wave, and after walking, many of the students are ready to celebrate. Unfortunately, sometimes these celebrations include drugs and alcohol.
Dr. Alan Cox, principal at Chiles High School, says, "Unfortunately the prevalence of car accidents really picks up this time of year, basically from spring break to graduation. Sometimes alcohol is involved, and so to offer an alternative for the kids like this a place to go after graduation, you can't beat it."
That alternative is Project Graduation where substance free parties means safe fun for graduating seniors.
"There's just everything imaginable they can do. They can eat all night. They can dance all night. They can swim all night. We have casino games they can participate in," says Candi Aubin, a Project Graduation volunteer.
High schoolers in Leon and Wakulla Counties are signing up in large numbers for the various parties. They say it's a good way to say good bye as they look to separate futures.
Ashley Moore, a Chiles High senior, says, "My friends have decided last minute to start signing up now that they figured out everybody else is going, so as far as I know everybody I'm friends with is going, so it will be a lot of fun."
Evan McMan, also a Chiles High senior, adds, "A lot of my friends I can go back and trace to kindergarten or first grade. We've known each other for so long and it's just really looking forward to that one last time when all spend time and share a last good time."
Project Graduation is now in its 20th year locally and is paid for mostly through corporate donations.