SOMERSET, NJ - This Friday night into Saturday morning close to 350 seniors are expected to participate in what has become a 24-year-old Franklin High School tradition, Project Graduation. 

Project Graduation is a national initiative designed to keep seniors safe in a fun-filled environment. High Schools across the country celebrate the drug and alcohol-free event on the night of graduation. 

The event gives the senior class one last time to bond with one another before they begin their journey into adulthood. 

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"This year we will have laser tag, casino games, a mentalist, a tarot card reader, roaming photographer, photo booth, all you can eat for dinner and breakfast, and a live DJ," FTHSPG, President Nicolas DiMeglio said. "There will be a lot of activity."

Organizers say project graduation could not happen without community support. 

This year's event was made possible thanks to fundraising events such as the Franklin Food Truck Festival and Used Clothing Drive. During after-school activities, the Project Graduation volunteers raised money through concession stand sales at the high school. 

The Franklin Township Alliance Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse/Youth Services Commission and the Franklin Township Local PBA 154 also donated money for the event, according to, DiMeglio. 

Many local businesses support the program through donations. This year supporters include the Elizabeth Avenue Vol. Fire Company Ladies Auxilary, Venus Jewelers, Renaissance at Raritan Valley HOA, Bound Brook Moose Lodge 988, Premier Homes, Marigold, Joy Systems, Stop and Shop, WaWa, Somerset County Vo Tech, SSP Architects, DRG Architects, Zarephath Christian Church, Eagles, Glen Goldstein, DMD, Peter and Lorraine Provenzale, La Bonbonniere Bake Shoppe and Parker McCay Attorneys.

Each year it takes approximately $28,000 in funds for Project Graduation to come to fruition.

The reality is an average of 10 people per day were killed in crashes involving a teen driver during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2016, according to AAA statistics. Project Graduation is a great way to avoid the chance of one of our seniors becoming part of that statistic on a night that should be just the beginning of the rest of their life. 

Now that you know what Project Graduation is, simply email two to three sentences to Franklintownship@Tapinto.net expressing why you or your loved one wants to go. A random reader will be selected as the winner and will be notified by Thursday, June 28 at noon. 

Earlier this year the Project Graduation team released the following information:

Project Graduation can only succeed with of the commitment of parents, local businesses and government, and the school and its students who support us in sending a clear message to all teens that alcohol and drugs are not necessary to celebrate their achievements. High School Graduation! Your support and involvement will help us make sure it is a time to celebrate, and not a time to grieve.

Graduating Students

Will not have to make a decision to use drugs or alcohol on graduation night

Will not have to drive or worry about driving with someone who has been drinking or taking drugs

Will learn what a great time they can have without the use of alcohol or other drugs

Will help establish a new tradition that works as a positive force to combat chemical use and driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

Will all have a party to attend on graduation night and will get to celebrate with their classmates

Will look back on this party as a very special night to remember

Parents

Will know their children won't be using alcohol or drugs at this event

Will know their children will not be driving under the influence, riding as passengers with a drunk or drugged driver, and they will not be out on the road where another drunk or drugged driver may hit them

Will know where their graduates are, and that they are having a great time under careful supervision

Will be able to participate in the planning and help to pass on this new tradition

Will get to know other parents working at Project Graduation and may get involved in other school-related activities after seeing how much fun this is

Will realize that many people in the community are concerned with the use of drugs and alcohol by our youth

The Community

Will know that its teens will not become just another grim statistic

Will learn that working together toward one common goal can make a difference

Will take pride in providing a positive experience for teens

How can you help?

TAPinto Franklin Township is independently owned and operated by  Malik A. Lyons FHS Class of 93’ Graduate. 

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