SUMMIT, NJ - In a tradition that began near three decades ago, the Summit High School Class of 2017 took part in the Project Graduation party, a post-ceremony event designed to allow graduates a safe, drug- and alcohol-free atmosphere where all can celebrate together.
Held at Lifetime Athletics in Berkeley Heights, the Class of '17 enjoyed the use of the facility's outdoor swimming pool, rock climbing wall, as well as volleyball and basketball courts, In addition, the party featured a DJ, games, caricaturists and a hypnotist show.
Dinner was catered by Towne Deli and Coppola Ristorante & Pizza, with Hoboken Farms covering the vegetarian and gluten-free options. Chaperones included four off-duty Summit Police Officers. About 70% of the class participated.
The event is partially funded by the student-led Flamingo Fundraiser, which saw lawns dotted with 'decorative' flamingos all over town over the last few weeks. The flamingos brought in almost $5,000 to help cover the cost of the party.
Graduates’ families are asked to contribute to attend, but no graduate is ever turned away for non-payment. According to long-time Project Graduation coordinator, Terri Tauber, “Summit families are remarkably generous, with 45% of the attendees paying the full cost or more to help cover other grads. That, along with business donations and the flamingo fundraiser are what allow us to serve all the graduates, regardless of ability to pay.”