SOMERSET, NJ - On June 28 close to 380 seniors are expected to camp out overnight and participate in what has become a 25-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 and make some more memories before they begin their journey into adulthood. 

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"We literally transform the first floor of the high school into an indoor amusement park," FTHSPG, President Nicolas DiMeglio said. "This year we will have laser tag, a mentalist, a tarot card reader, roaming photographer, photo booth, all you can eat for dinner and breakfast, and a live DJ. There will be a lot of activity and lots of food"

There will also be a senior class breakfast on the June 27, sponsored by the Project Graduation team. Organizers say project graduation could not happen without community support including parents and local businesses

This year's event was made possible thanks to donations from local businesses and 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, Elizabeth Avenue Fire Company, Ladies Auxiliary also donated money for the event, according to, DiMeglio. 

Many local businesses support the program through donations. This year supporters include the Renaissance at Raritan Valley HOA, Bound Brook Moose Lodge 988, Premier Homes,   Stop and Shop, WaWa, Somerset County Vo Tech, SSP Architects,Financial Resources Credit Union, Pierce Street Deli,  FHS, PTSO, DRG Architects, Eagles, Peter and Lorraine Provenzale, Panera, Zee Best Bagels, Dunkin Donuts Easton Avenue, La Bonbonniere Bake Shoppe and Parker McCay Attorneys, Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach Realtors, Manville Hillsborough Elks Lodge 2119, Unity Bank and Renaissance/Canal Walk Men's Club

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

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.