Graduation. for any age, is a time for happiness, celebration, and joy. However, sometimes it can turn into heartbreak if a young life is lost in the midst of all this celebrating. It was the idea to keep graduating seniors safe while having a good time that spawned the idea of Project Graduation. Brenda Bannert, co-chairman of San Angelo Project Graduation 2015 says,

Project Graduation is a party with a purpose. It exists so graduating seniors can have the time of their lives—and live to tell about it.

Tickets are on sale now for San Angelo Project Graduation 2015, the community-wide, substance-free celebration of a milestone moment. This year’s event, slated for Saturday, May 30 from 9:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m. at the Spur Arena, is open to all graduating seniors in San Angelo. Tickets are available at local high schools including Central (at the Student Services Center) and Lake View (in the Library from Allison Peterson). Early bird tickets, which include a free event t-shirt, can be purchased until May 8 for $10. From May 9-May 28, tickets are $15 and do not include a t-shirt. Tickets purchased at the door on May 30 will be $20. Each senior is allowed to bring one guest, age 15-19. Guest tickets are $20.

Project Graduation activities include a casino, a deejay and dancing, a photo booth, and video games as well  as Bingo, Minute to Win It, and a Money Booth. Prizes will be awarded through the activities and through drawings. Prizes include electronics (iPads, iPods, laptops, televisions, etc.) scholarships, bicycles, gift cards, themed gift baskets, and the night’s grand cash prize of $2,015. Participants will eat well, enjoying teenage favorites such as burgers, pizza, hot dogs and chicken fajitas.

This year’s theme 'Capture the Moment' is built around the students’ favorite social media channels. Bannert said, 

The theme is just an outgrowth of what these seniors, who grew up in the era of technology, do naturally. We’ve created an event with a lot of memory-making moments for them to capture.

Fundraising Events
Auto Paradise, throughout the month of May, will donate $2 to Project Graduation for every 'fundraiser' car wash purchased.

Chili’s Grill & Bar is supporting Project Graduation by hosting a 'Giving Back' event every other week on Thursdays and Fridays. The restaurant publishes a flyer. Patrons bring the flyer to the restaurant, give it to their server and Chili’s donates 10 percent of the ticket to Project Graduation. The flyers are emailed by local school counselors and can be accessed on the San Angelo Project Graduation 2015 Facebook page.

The event is funded solely by generous donations from the San Angelo community.

“Keeping seniors safe on the biggest night of their lives is a worthwhile cause, but it takes significant resources to make Project Graduation a reality,” Bannert said. “The event is funded solely by generous donations from the San Angelo community.” The budget for the event, which reaches more than 500 students, is approximately $30,000.

Donations, both cash and in-kind (food and prizes), are still being accepted by San Angelo Project Graduation 2015, which is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit. To make a tax-deductible donation, contact Maureen Soupiset by email at mosoupiset@gmail.com or mail to: Project Graduation 2015, P.O. Box 2855, San Angelo, TX 76902. FMI call: (325) 944-0840.

San Angelo Project Graduation Updates and Meetings
Like San Angelo Project Graduation 2015 on Facebook to get the latest information.

Parent volunteers are still needed, and anyone wishing to volunteer for activities at the May 30th event can email Felicia Teeter at teeterf@gmail.com .The last San Angelo Project Graduation 2015 planning meeting is Tuesday, May 5 at 6:00 p.m. at the SAISD Administration Building.