High school graduation is a milestone in children's lives - it commemorates the end of era in their lives and the beginning of the next. But the celebration can easily turn tragic, as statistics show more young people between the ages of 16 and 20 are injured or killed between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. in May and June than during any other time of the year.
Each year for more than two-and-a-half decades, seniors of Elkins High School have celebrated their graduation with an exciting, fun- filled all-night party. Project Safe Graduation is an event designed to provide graduates with safe and entertaining post-graduation activities that last all night in a drug- and alcohol-free environment.
The 28th annual Elkins High School Project Safe Graduation is organized by the GFWC Junior Woman's Club of Elkins and will be held immediately following graduation May 24 at the McDonnell Center on the campus of Davis & Elkins College.
With a Mardi Gras theme, the graduates will enjoy an evening of casino games by the Kiwanis, a temporary tattoo artist, dancing and karaoke with music by a DJ Chuck Alth from Alt-imate Entertainment, a silent auction, arcade games provided by J. Rod's Vending, card games, a variety of food donated by area businesses, a performance by Ziva Lynn a professional party dancer and much more.
Each senior staying the night will win a prize and will be eligible to win the grand prize - a pre-owned vehicle donated by Performance Motors, which will be given away at the end of breakfast.
The event will conclude at 6 a.m. following a breakfast provided and prepared by the First United Methodist Church Men.
Organizers said the community support of Project Safe Graduation is overwhelming. Local businesses have donated prizes and money. Members of four local fire departments, Elkins, Beverly, Leading Creek and Coalton, are chaperoning. The Randolph County Sheriff's Office, Elkins City Police Department and the West Virginia State Police will make random appearances in and around the McDonnell Center to ensure that all the graduates and their guests are safe.
Parent information packets were mailed April 1, which included information about the party. The registration form can be obtained on the Elkins High School website under the Project Safe Graduation Party tab.
The registration form is to be mailed to: Angie Goff, Rt. 2 Box 14A, Beverly, WV 26253 by May 11 and will provide the Project Safe Graduation Committee with attendance numbers to ensure enough food and prizes for all the graduates.
Graduates are allowed to bring one guest and he/she must be 15 to 20 years of age. All graduates are encouraged to attend. It is highly recommended that all seniors and guests preregistered for the party. Seniors and/or their guest will not be turned away at the door, but if a completed registration form was not received prior to the party, the parents will be contacted to verify all information needed for the senior and/or guest to attend the party.
Anyone who would like to volunteer, make a donation or ask for further information can contact Project Safe Graduation Chairwoman Angie Goff at 304-636-5626.