WEST ORANGE, NJ - During the conference agenda at the West Orange Township Council meeting May 20, the Relay for Life and Project Graduation Day, and the township Memorial Day Ceremony were announced by residents of the town and students at West Orange High School.
Lisa Renwick and supporters of Relay for Life invited the community to celebrate the program's 10th anniversary by participating in an overnight walk to raise money for people who have lost someone to cancer.
The event will take place at West Orange High School on June 13 at 6 p.m. and will carry on until 6 a.m. the following morning.
"It will be educational and ceremonial, but also a lot of fun," Renwick said.
Renwick mentioned that teams from all walks of life will be participating, including school teams, police, fire squad, and more. She encouraged all groups from the community to join including churches, temples, sporting teams and girls scouts.
As night falls, illuminated bags called luminarias will be lit to honor those who have lost their battle to cancer and celebrate those who have survived the disease. Signs may also be purchased for $150 to depict a company name or personal message to honor someone and they will be displayed for the 12 hour event. To purchase one, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leslie Fleischer, co-chair of this year's Project Graduation event, was on hand to discuss the event.The event has been held for for the past several years for WOHS graduates and provides an all-night alcohol/substance/smoke free alternative. This year's celebration will be held at Funplex in East Hanover following graduation on June 19.
"The money that has been earned over the years is starting to dissipate and we haven't had enough community support to support Project Graduation," Fleisher said. "It is imperative that our township council, our community members and organizations support Project Graduation because it takes a community understanding of how important it is to keep our graduates safe."
To support the event, the community was given the opportunity to purchase a lawn sign after the meeting for $15 to raise awareness for a tradition that is steadily declining in funds.
Also announced was the upcoming Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 26. West Orange High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadet and Memoral Day committee chair Dylan Pennell announced a major change in the event. Instead of presenting the NJ Distinguished Service Medal to veterans of West Orange, there will be 10 candidates for the Air Force that will be enlisted on that day.
"We feel this adds a new dynamic because it allows us to not only honor those who have moved on and fallen in combat, but also to show those who are willing to follow in their footsteps and are willing to carry on protecting the United States," Pennell said.
Other upcoming events that were also announced was the annual West Orange African Heritage Organization fundraiser, "Men whoc Cook," which will take place on June 8.