Students may be eager to flee the coop as soon as their mortar boards hit the floor after graduation in June, but Stone Bridge and Broad Run are offering some good reasons to stick around for a few more hours.
It's Project Graduation time, the all-night post-graduation party that schools host every year. It's the last chance for all students to spend hours together within the same four walls.
One lucky student will win a trip to Ted Britt Ford in Chantilly, where he or she is guaranteed to take away at least $500 in prizes and scholarships. One student from the region will win a new car. In 2000, a Broad Run student was the grand prize winner.
Here’s the trick: you must be present at Project Graduation to be eligible.
At Stone Bridge, the theme is Tropical Night. The night of June 17, students can stay up until 5:30 a.m. in the school playing blackjack and roulette in the casino, have their fortunes told in the carnival and win one of $6,000 worth of prizes.
That's not all, but organizer and graduate mom Meg Wolfner is staying mum about the entire night.
"We like some surprises for the kids," she said.
Stone Bridge's Project Graduation will also have food by Tortilla Factory, Subway, Milwaukee Custard and Domino's Pizza.
Broad Run’s Project Graduation, "It’s A Jungle Out There," will be held at Ashburn Sports Pavilion after the school’s June 20 graduation ceremony until 5 a.m. It will offer similar activities to Stone Bridge’s, like henna tattoos and a roving professional photographer.
Janet Olsen has helped organize Project Graduation since 1999. Her third and last child is graduating this year.
"The night goes by and the kids don’t even realize it’s gone," Olsen said.
IN THE LATE '80s, Virginia Department of Transportation determined that the two most dangerous nights of the year for student drivers are prom and graduation.
Students often take limos to prom, but graduation is more of a transportation free-for-all. Project Graduation is an effort to salve parents’ worries about safety and provide students with a last chance to bond.
"It’s a safe place for the kids," Olsen said. "We have to make it fun, but not in a little kids’ way."
— Suzannah Evans
Volunteers are still needed for Project Graduation both before, during and after the event. To volunteer for Broad Run, contact Janet Olsen at email@example.com. To volunteer at Stone Bridge, contact Meg Wolfner at firstname.lastname@example.org.