On graduation day, Reilly Hanson’s mom and dad and grandparents will all watch him watch her walk the stage at commemoration. After going to a dinner and talking about what her future plans are, she will driving back up to Johnson to hop on a bus to Rio Cibolo Ranch.
“It will be nice to spend the last night of my high school life with the people I have been going to school with for the last 10 years or so,” Hanson said.
Project Grad is a lock-in for all seniors. On the night of graduation, students spend all night play games and spending time together for the last time as high schooler.
“Project Grad is a PTA sponsored program that is hosted all around the country and they were designed to provide a safe alcohol and drug free evening the night of graduation,” parent and Project Graduation committee chair Kathleen Donoghue said.
The seniors are dropped off at a Rio Cibolo Ranch by a bus and they get to spend time singing karaoke, play volleyball and much more.
“I’m excited for the karaoke and to play volleyball with my friends,” Hanson said. “More than anything, I just want to spend one last night with my big group of friends.”
While not all of the students involve themselves in project grad, the number of attendees grow every year.
“We usually have 175 to about 190,” Donoghue said, “We are hoping to get about 200 to come this year.”
There are sign up deadlines, the first being in March, then the price increase every month after that.
“If you sign up for the March deadline then you will for sure get a t-shirt,” Donoghue said. “We will also be having a prize drawing for free dinner for two at the Marriott that we will draw from the people who are registered by the March deadline.”
Project Grad is the last opportunity that the senior class can be all together. The PTA and PTSA hone in on that idea to entice students to sign up.
“It gives the seniors that one last night where everyone is a Jaguar. Immediately after that everyone splits up into their friend groups and you start looking forward to college or whatever you are doing after school,” Donoghue said.
While it seems that Project Grad will go off without a hitch, some students have concerns surrounding the night.
“It is a really long event I hope that they will have enough stuff to do to keep us occupied the whole time,” senior Janeth Juarez said. “All the way until four A.M. a long time to keep everyone busy.”
Some students on the other hand have heard from previous graduates that Project Grad is a fun filled event.
“I had friends that graduated last year that said that Project Grad was really fun and they has plenty of activities to keep you busy,” senior Jacob Hallenberger said.
Most seniors have spent the last thirteen years with their fellow students, and having the Project Grad after graduation helps ease the pain of letting go.
“Why not go to Project Grad? It is overnight and this year graduation is at 2:30, so you can still spend time with family. Why not go up to school and have this last night with your whole class because you have the rest of your summer to spend with your friends,” Donoghue said.
High school is a huge part of everyone’s lives, and when it comes to a close, it can be an emotional time for all students.
“It is the last night we’re all going to be together as Jaguars, it is a special moment I want to spend with as many people as I can,” Hanson said.