BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — DANVERS — Organizers of the 18th annual all-night, chemical-free party following the Danvers High graduation are looking for donors.
The cost of Project Graduation, in which new graduates attend a chaperoned evening at Cederdale Athletic Club in Haverhill, is about $15,000, said Cory Grace, who is organizing the event this year, and who happens to be the assistant town accountant. The event aims to keep kids safe the night of graduation, June 8.
Though organizers try to save proceeds from the prior year’s party to start planning the following year’s event, “we are in need of donors,” Grace said.
Sixty to 70 percent of the graduating class participates. “It provides a safe environment for the kids,” Grace said.
In the week leading up to graduation, seniors purchase a $20 ticket and fill out a contract signed by a parent or guardian that states the graduate will stay at the event all night.
The graduates meet at Danvers High, where they must take a Breathalyzer test, and get a bracelet and T-shirt to wear for the entire evening. The students are then transported to Cedardale for activities that include a vintage clothing photo booth, caricaturists, a baby photo contest, and various sports activities. There’s a sandwich bar at midnight, followed by a make-your-own ice cream sundae table, donated by Cherry Hill Creamery. After a hypnotist show at 4 a.m., they are taken to the Danvesport Yacht Club for breakfast.
Parent volunteers chaperone the entire event.
The good thing about the evening that Grace has noticed is that “it seems to eliminate all the cliques.”
“They interact and talk with people they haven’t spoken with in four years,” she said. “Because they have graduated, they don’t have to fit in anymore.”
Anyone wanting to donate can send a check, payable to “DEEP,” to DHS Project Graduation, Danvers High School, 60 Cabot Road, Danvers MA 01923. Donations are handled by the nonprofit Danvers Educational Enrichment Partnership and are tax-deductible. Please put “Project Graduation” in the memo line.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.