The Last Night Before 'Hello World'

The Last Night Before 'Hello World'

A cruise ship, cartoon capers and a beach blast promise alcohol-free fun.

Remember high-school graduation and the all-night parties? Sterling’s area high schools are offering volunteers an opportunity to step back in time and re-live that celebration. They are recruiting people to assist with the class of 2005's alcohol-free, all-night festivity: Project Graduation.

"WE'RE ALWAYS looking for volunteers," said Mary Golino, chairwoman for Potomac Falls High School's Project Graduation. "We're looking for donations, money and prizes."

The students are holding their all-night event June 20 at the high school. This year, the party will have a cruise ship theme "Fantastic Voyage 2005," she said.

Golino wanted to keep some of the night's activities a secret, but she said graduates will have plenty of chances to win prizes with Texas Hold 'Em poker, black jack and slot machines at a make-shift casino. "We have a mystery guest at the end of the night," she added.

That time frame was described as 3:30 a.m., since the party lasts from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. The names of students who stay throughout the night will be entered into a raffle, with a car as the grand prize. Ted Britt Ford invites one student from each of the high schools in Loudoun and Fairfax counties to attend its party after all of the Project Graduation celebrations are over. The car dealership also provides three scholarships and $500 prizes.

Golino said Potomac Falls High School also provides special prizes to the students who stay for the entire party. "We would like full participation," she said. "We get about 70 percent of the senior class. The kids just don't know how much fun it is."

Jan Develli, career center specialist at Park View High School, has helped coordinate Project Graduation for 10 years. This year it will be held from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., June 21, at the school. "Yes, we're always looking for volunteers," she said.

A FLYER describes the all-night party and breakfast as a "great night with friends before you say goodbye to Park View and hello to the rest of your life." Its theme is "Cartoon Capers."

A color television, camera, compact disc player, VCR, beach chairs, umbrellas and coolers are among the 1,000 prizes.

The graduates also enter their names in a drawing for a chance at the new car.

The students will have an opportunity to participate in a bungee run, casino night, a carnival, gladiator jousting and karaoke. Students can have their photos taken with friends and placed in key chains or have their caricatures drawn. And for those who appreciate beauty, a "Womanless Beauty Contest" is planned.

Dominion High School's Project Graduation will be held June 18, at the Reston YMCA. The Beach Blast will run, from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., and will feature a mock casino, pool, beauty shop, bouncy boxing, jousting, karaoke, carnival games, a chance at the Ted Britt car, and more. "Everyone will go away with a prize," Lisa Glossner said Tuesday.

"Volunteers are definitely needed," Principal W. John Brewer added.

Glossner said the class of 2005 will be Dominion's first graduating class. "And it will be our first Project Graduation," she said. "To start off our new Dominion High School tradition, we need lots of help."

Glossner predicted widespread participation. "It's a small class," she said. "But I'm hearing they are all psyched."