Chantilly High School needs volunteers and donors to make this year’s all-night graduation party a success.
The concept of these annual events began in the 1980s, as parents and community businesses came together to try and stop the escalating number of accidents and fatalities that occurred during high school graduation time — many due to the deadly mix of alcohol, drugs and driving.
In this area, the Northern Virginia Project Graduation (NVPG) began in 1987 with one high school. Now, high schools in Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Alexandria, and Arlington counties, representing 20,000 graduating seniors are assisted by NVPG through its Web site and the free use of its printed materials and other support.
Dannette Wolfe and Kimberly McDonald co-chair the ANGP committee at Chantilly High. They cite that the need for this kind of activity benefits everyone.
For Chantilly High School, this will be their 20th year in hosting this event and during that time there have been no accidents or deaths attributed to drugs and alcohol on graduation night.
The committee members dedicate themselves to promoting a safe, supervised, memory-filled graduation party. Each year they work to convince increasing numbers of students that this alternative is a good choice and to do that, they need to provide exciting activities that will entice the students to attend.
Money for providing this alternative program comes primarily from donations.
“We try to raise about $35,000 dollars to pay for this event and we can’t do that without the support of community members and businesses,” said Wolfe. “ I know everyone is hit up with lots of requests for donations and merchandise during the school year, and this makes fund-raising for an end-of-the-year event particularly challenging. I think the community might have forgotten why this night is so important.”
McDonald and Wolfe say this year’s CHS ANGP will be the best ever. Although the women say they want the evening to be a surprise, they did hint to such activities as a casino (winners receive “Charger money” to be spent in a special “prize room” as well as loads of fun activities that rotate hourly as well as unlimited food and water/soda for participants and volunteers.
The CHS class of 2007 has more than 700 students. Wolfe says the need for volunteers is critical. “We currently have about 175 volunteers and are hoping for more. In the past we have had as many as 350 volunteers. Most parents who volunteer enjoy the evening as much as the students do and everybody enjoys knowing that the students who are attending are safe.”