EAST HANOVER, NJ—Immediately following their graduation ceremony on June 22, West Orange High School’s Class of 2015 graduates returned to the high school, except this time it was not at 7:30 a.m. to attend classes but around 10:00 p.m. to board buses travelling to Funplex on Route 10 for Project Graduation.
Project Graduation, which was attended by the majority of the 475 graduates, served as a safe, alcohol- and drug-free alternative to having a fun time after officially finishing high school.
Upon arriving at Funplex and exiting the busses, the graduates were greeted by teachers and Funplex employees exclaiming, “Congratulations!” and “Who’s ready to enjoy themselves?”
Through the entrance, there was a DJ blasting music alongside a pool featuring giant waterslides and a fountain spewing water.
Next to the pool, enjoying some food with friends, recently graduated Anthony Fastiggi said, “I am here to have fun and enjoy my graduation night.”
Fastiggi’s words seemed to embody the vibe radiating from within Funplex, as music, smiles, and laughs filled the complex.
Holding the door open for graduates as they funneled inside the building from the pool and music, mathematics teacher Jonathan Tick said, “I never had anything like this at my high school graduation. From a teacher’s point of view, this is the perfect celebration. It’s safe, fun, contained, and extremely entertaining.”
Inside Funplex, the 2015 graduates had full access to a myriad of arcade games—including racing, shooting, mini-baseketball, air hockey, and a life-sized version of two-player Flappy Bird.
Not into games? Not a problem! The Project Graduation celebration also included a bumper cars arena, free-for-all laser tag, and high-speed go-kart racing.
Reflecting on the bittersweet nature of the gathering, graduate Daphne Campbell noted, “This is probably the last time that so many students of my class will be in the same building together.”
This notion became a bit more evident as, around 3 a.m. or so, the games and music began to wind down, and graduates started funneling back onto buses destined toward the high school.
“Project Graduation was lots of fun,” said graduate John Aristizabal, reflecting on the night. “Next year’s graduating class should definitely be looking forward to it.”
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