What is Project Graduation? (Also just shortened to ProGrad)
The idea for Project Graduation was conceived in Maine in the 1980’s after 18 teens lost their lives in drug and alcohol related car crashes following high school graduations. The first event there was so well received that it was quickly adopted by high schools throughout the nation – including Texas. The term “Project Graduation” has become a generic name for the chemical-free graduation parties that have started a new tradition – celebrating safely. Travis High School has participated in Project Graduation since 2008. This is a totally self-supporting program sponsored by the parents of Travis High School and by the community. We receive no funding from the school budget or the district budget and except for a small, start-up balance from the previous year’s ProGrad budget, ProGrad for each graduating class starts fundraising from scratch. It’s all about our kids and keeping them safe.
Project Graduation is an enormous undertaking and there are numerous opportunities for parents and students to become involved. The entire year is taken up with various fundraisers to take us to our goal of raising around $75,000. As an example, about half of that money is used to pay for events, security, food, etc. and the other half is devoted to purchasing prizes for graduates to win on Event Night. We would love to have the entire community support Project Graduation and our Travis graduates – the more support we have, the more prizes our students can win.
Who organizes ProGrad? ProGrad is run like a Booster Club with an Executive Board and Committee Chair positions. Every volunteer must complete a Criminal History Background Check with FBISD. If you would like the chance to chair a committee or become part of a committee, please go to our website for more information or just attend our next monthly meeting! (Please be aware that ProGrad is separate from Senior Class fees or packages organized by Senior Class sponsors.)
I don’t have a Senior. Why should I care about ProGrad? That is true, kind of…but you will have a senior soon. ProGrad is a very complicated undertaking and it would just take too long to reinvent the wheel every year. The board and committees always try to leave instructions and advice for their successors, but there is no substitute for experience. Underclassmen parents are welcome to attend meetings and learn about what is coming for them.
Who can attend ProGrad Event Night? Any student who qualifies for and participates in the THS graduation ceremonies may attend, providing he/she has purchased a ticket in advance. No tickets are sold at the door. There is a TBD charge for tickets but purchase early as the closer to Event Night we get, the higher priced the ticket becomes. Only THS students may attend, no friends or siblings. Junior or Senior parents who sign up for specific volunteer shifts may also attend during their shifts and Junior parents can get a jump start on earning tiger bucks for their senior year.
What happens on Event Night? The Class of 2020 will celebrate ON graduation night (tentatively set by the district as May 30, 2020) at Travis High School. This will be one last time for classmates to be together at the school. Doors will open around 10:30 PM, giving graduates time to spend with family, go out to dinner, etc. Once you arrive and are signed in, however, you are to stay for the entire celebration – until 6:00 AM – no in and out. There will be many adult parent chaperones, a security team, a nurse, and off-limits areas. There will be food, food, and more food, games, a prize wheel, raffles, silent auctions, gift cards, entertainment, music, and more. Prizes typically include laptops, TV’s, dorm items, college must-haves, mini fridges, and gift cards – it is only up to the imagination of our prize committee and the generosity of our community sponsors! Our goal is for every senior student to go home with prizes and priceless memories.
ProGrad fundraisers - Project Graduation is a registered 501c3 charitable entity; thus, all donations of cash or merchandise may be tax deductible. It is up to the students and parents how much money is raised each year through their participation in our fundraising activities. Fundraisers don’t raise funds if no one participates.
Holiday Hayrides - Our largest fundraising events are the Holiday Hayrides through Pecan Grove (and we have to compete with more and more entrepreneurs there every year!) where we run hayrides during December as well as sell concessions. We are always IN NEED of trailers and drivers for our hayrides. You can reserve your spot for the hayrides at www.TravisTigerPrograd.com as soon as the site is up and running. Senior Serve - The other major fundraiser is Senior Serve, a wonderful evening where groups of students create elaborately decorated themed tables (again, only limited by their imagination) and “serve” their parents and guests a catered meal. Students often dress up in costume and may even stay in character for the evening. Students are expected to sell tickets to their guests for the evening and guests are encouraged to bid on themed cakes, browse and bid on fantastic Silent Auction tables, and they can even offer tips to their servers.
Other Fundraising -We also have several smaller fundraisers throughout the year to make up the balance of our earnings. These may range from tee shirt sales to parent and business donations to food sales to spirit nights to sales of holiday items to a giant garage sale to car washes to our “meeting market” during monthly meetings where various vendors display their goods and offer a percentage back to prograd. Each fundraiser is chaired by a committee head and may or may not have a standing committee. If you have an idea for fundraiser or would like to inquire about donations, we would love to hear from you! Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are Tiger Bucks? You may have heard the term “tiger bucks” but are wondering what that means. Every time a senior (or their parents) participates in ProGrad activities, he/she is awarded Tiger Bucks – a point system that allows students to build their pile of “cash” (read monopoly money) that they can use to spend on Event Night. They may choose to spend their tiger bucks on the prize wheel or in the raffles or at the Silent Auction. The more students participate during the year in ProGrad activities, the more tiger bucks they can earn. Students who have not participated during the year can still attend Event Night, as every ticket is accompanied by a set number of Tiger Bucks. Each school year brings a new volunteer team to plan events and activities so Event Night may change a bit from year to year, but the result is the same – lots of fun and lots of prizes. (Please note that Tiger bucks have no relation to the Tiger Pride Points students can earn during school which are posted on the Travis website.)
How do I find out more about ProGrad? We cannot undertake this event without VOLUNTEERS! The more volunteers we have, the better for everyone. We are updating our social media all of the time – from our Twitter page to our Facebook page to the Travis newsletter to our website at www.TravisTigerPrograd.com to our Remind messaging system. There is a ProGrad table during lunches every Tuesday where students can check in wearing their tee shirts for tiger bucks, purchase tee shirts, turn in forms and fundraisers, learn about upcoming activities, and sign up for Remind updates. We also have monthly evening meetings at Travis for students and parents to attend. Come join the fun of Project Graduation!