Ector County high schools fall short on project graduation funds

Ector County high schools fall short on project graduation funds

Some Ector County seniors hope to get the most out of their project graduation but the funds aren't there yet.

"I'm looking forward to it but I don't know what to expect now," said Odessa High School senior Taylor Neal. "I went last year with some friends just to go and they had a lot of prizes but I'm not sure if we're going to be able to have that."

Seniors at Odessa and Permian High School hope the last night of their high school days ends with a night to remember.

"As a parent and also a chairperson for the committee this year, it's important for us to put on a good event for the kids because it keeps them safe," said Odessa High School graduation chairperson Cristina Bowen.

Project graduation is an alcohol and drug-free event that celebrates the end of high school for graduating seniors. Prizes are awarded throughout the night to keep seniors in and not out drinking and driving.

"It's like the end of a chapter, I guess you could say," said Odessa High School senior Alexander Ha. "It's the end of the whole school year, so its a safe way to end it on a good note."

With a goal of $25,000 and only two weeks until the big day, the funds have fallen a little short for both high schools.

Renee Earls is the chairperson of the Odessa High School project graduation committee. She said the school district does not supply funds for project graduation so the committee encourages businesses and individuals to help make the seniors' last night memorable.

"In our economy, we knew it would have been difficult to raise the funds but we can't not have project graduation," said Earls. "So we will be having an event regardless. It just depends on what scale that is even going to be. Our kids worked hard throughout this year and this years past. We want to give them the best party possible."

Earls said the money will help bring better prizes to seniors before they head off to the big world. Colleges have donated scholarships to the event but gift cards for restaurants, gas, and stores will be awarded as prizes in the meantime.

"It's good to have a new laptop before you go off to college," said Permian High School senior Preston Earls.

"We're hoping to eventually be able to buy those printers and computers that we've counted on in the past that the students look forward to," said Renee.

Senior parents sponsor the event, but the event is funded by donations from the community. Donations will go also go towards rental fees for the facility, bouncers, and food.

"There's just a lot of expenses involved in putting on a big event like this," said Bowen. "We have over 700 seniors."

Renee and Cristina said with the big day around the corner, they're confident they can pull through and give their seniors a memorable night.

"They know that at the end of the night, that's what it comes down to is getting the scholarships and getting the big prizes so we're confident in the next two weeks we'll get that money," said Earls.

If you would like to help the seniors' project graduation, you can send them donations at:

OHS/PHS Project Graduation 2016
PO BOX 14974
Odessa, Texas 79768

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