ATASCOCITA HIGH SCHOOL
PROJECT GRADUATIONHow it all began…..
The concept originated in Maine in response to the deaths of 18 teenagers in alcohol-related highway crashes. Seven of the teens were from one community. Parents in the community were devastated and determined not to let this happen again. In an effort to prevent the incapacitating injuries and deaths that were often the result of teens driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, the parents organized "Project Graduation". From that school the idea spread. By 1985, 95% of the high schools in Maine were hosting successful chemical-free parties.In Texas
How did this drug-free celebration originate in Texas? While attending a traffic safety conference in the early 80's, John McKay, now a retired TxDOT employee learned of Maine's success with sponsoring over-night chemical-free Project Graduation events following graduation ceremonies.
Working with the Maine Department of Education and Cultural Services Alcohol, Drugs, and Highway Safety Program Coordinator, TxDOT utilized the original Project Graduation concept, ideas, and experiences and adapted it for Texas high schools. The concept was endorsed by The Congress of Parents and Teachers, Texan's War on Drugs, Texas Department of Health, Texas Safety Association, Texas Education Agency, Texas Center for the Judiciary, Inc. and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Two schools piloted the program during the 1983-84 school year. Later, senior prom activities were also identified as a potentially deadly time for teen involvement in alcohol-related traffic crashes. In 1987, the name changed from Project Graduation to Project Celebration. These changes enabled schools to hold events during the time of year which put their students at the greatest risk for alcohol-related vehicle crashes.
Project Graduation is now a statewide program and we would like to start an annual tradition at Atascocita High School, to allow each graduating class the opportunity to vote on whether they would like to participate in a Project Prom to take place the night of the Senior Prom, or a Project Graduation, which would take place after the graduation ceremony. This is the last chance for many of the students to spend quality time together before they all go off to college or to start their future.