Parents Throw Party
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Parents Throw Party

Project Graduation Keeps Seniors Safe on Grad Night

One day after Park View High School’s 2005 post-graduation party, Ann Geiger began planning for 2006’s bash.

The Sterling resident became involved with Park View High School’s post-graduation party project six years ago.

"I started when my son was in the eighth grade," Geiger said. "He’s now a junior in college."

The party’s purpose is to give seniors a safe place to celebrate graduation, a night typically known for drinking and driving.

"We want to keep kids safe on the first day of the rest of their lives," she said.

Geiger’s youngest daughter is a sophomore at Park View High School.

"When she graduates that’s when I’ll stop," she said.

POST-GRADUATION parties are common throughout Loudoun County high schools. All eight schools with a graduating senior class offer a themed party, cash and prizes. The parties last throughout the night, from approximately 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day.

This year, with the help of parent volunteers, Park View High School’s gymnasium will be transformed into Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. The post-graduation party’s theme is "Movie Mania."

When students enter the gymnasium via red carpet, they will be allowed to choose a door prize.

"We really want to ‘wow’ them in the beginning," Geiger said.

The parents' main goal is to keep seniors at the party all night.

In an effort to keep recent graduates off the streets, parents will collect their car keys at the door.

"Everything they have in their pockets, car keys, cell phones, will go into bags with their names on it," she said.

Park View High School graduates will be able to gamble, sing karaoke and run through an adult-size obstacle course Friday, June 16. There will also be a hairdresser on-site to cut and style students' hair and paint their nails.

"And we have all the food they can want," Geiger said.

Students can win tickets at the boardwalk carnival and casino and redeem them at the end of the night for prizes.

Big ticket items include $100 and $500 scholarships and dorm-room supplies. Prizes will be awarded to students who stay the whole night.

ACROSS TOWN, Janet Olsen has been working hard to plan Broad Run High School’s graduation night.

In an effort to keep the recent graduates from party hopping, Olsen and her team will be collecting graduates’ car keys at the door of the Ashburn Sports Pavilion. They must check in with parents upon entry and exit of the party.

If teens leave before 5:30 a.m., parent volunteers will call their parents to let them know they’re on their way home.

"Students can leave, but they can’t go out to their car unless they’re escorted," Olsen said, "and they can’t get back in."

There will be guards at the door to make sure students don’t try to re-enter the party.

Some post-graduation party rules are strict, but the parents' main objective is to show the students a good time.

This year, the all-night party’s theme is "Hollywood! Give my Regards to Broad Run."

Graduates can gamble at a casino, sing karaoke and make their own music videos. There will be a caricature artist and disc jockey at the party all night. There will be a lifeguard on duty for grads to go swimming.

With all of the activities available to students, the all-night party will go by quickly, Olsen said. Students are encouraged to stay until the wee hours of the morning, to be eligible to win big prizes.

IT IS UP TO parent volunteers to make Project Graduation a success in Loudoun County. Park View High School PTSA president Lyn Loy said parents have the option to volunteer at the party or before and after to set up and clean up.

"We’re desperate to find more parents either for an hour or all night," Loy said.

Parents of undergraduates are encouraged to participate.

"We want parents to enjoy the same party in a year or two, so parents can come to learn," she added.

If parents want to participate in Project Graduation, contact their school’s parent-teacher-student organizations.

"This event takes an enormous amount of planning," Loy said. "We want to keep kids safe and enjoy the wonderful celebration."