As graduation quickly approaches, Kingwood Park prepares for an extra-special May. This year will mark the first graduating class of Kingwood Park High School. Parents, students and faculty have been anxiously awaiting graduation, as well as Project Graduation. Having a Project Graduation that was anything short of spectacular was out of the question for parents planning the big event that started in the 80s in order to offer graduates a safe, alcohol-free environment after graduation. The lock-in starts at 11:30 p.m. and parents make sure there is enough fun, food and games to stay entertained until 5 a.m., when the doors open for the recently graduated bunch to head back to their homes. With such a large event comes need for fundraising and a large budget. “We started out with no money and no budget for project graduation,” said KPHS parent, Jill Reuter. Besides food and games, fundraising is needed to provide prizes that are drawn all night as a sort of “congratulations” drawing. TVs, computers, printers, cameras and cash are among the top prizes throughout the night. Parents want to give their children a night to remember, while still remaining safe, before they embark on a new chapter in life. Besides the basic electronic items, the parents of the 2010 graduating class were determined to raise enough money for a car to be the grand prize giveaway. “Carol Leigh Harvey and I were bound and determined that we were going to find a way to have a car for the grand-prize,” said Reuter. “This was so important since the reason for Project Graduation is to give the kids a safe and alcohol-free way to celebrate this exciting milestone in their lives.” A generous batch of donors including the Children’s Choice Montessori, Republican Candidate for State Representative Dan Huberty, KPHS All Sports Booster Club, Whitehawk Properties, Jostens, Durotech LP, George Brown and John Ellisor of Ellisor Construction, SBWV Architect, Escondido Resources, and Administaff all pitched in to raise money for what they thought would surely purchase a car to give away at the big event. However, with $10,000 in donations, they fell short for a new car. After a few failed attempts at various dealerships, the parents putting together Project Graduation went to Parkway Family Kia/Mazda, which opened their doors about two months ago, and within 24 hours were guaranteed a new car. Parkway Family Kia/Mazda very generously agreed to cover the rest of the price for the new car for Project Graduation. Thanks to the dealership, a lucky student will drive away on May 29 with a zippy, white Kia Soul after Project Graduation comes to an end.  “This is the icing on the cake for our very first Project Graduation for KPHS,” said Reuter. “This is going to be a fantastic event thanks to the KPHS community. There is no better place to live and raise a family.” Photo: From left, Dave Davis and Granger Durdin of Parkway Family Kia/Mazda presented the keys of the new Kia Soul to Associate Principal Lisa Drabing and Assistant Principal/senior class sponsor Shelby McPherson. Students of KPHS can enjoy stealing glances at the new car before graduation, as the car will be parked around various locations of the school as a “teaser” for Project Graduation.

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