The Cost of Project Graduation

As the school year nears its end, excitement is building for the Class of 2018’s Project Graduation. This is a fifty-six-year-old tradition for the senior class at Ridgewood High School, consisting of a ceremony, an elaborate afterparty with a different theme each year, as well as other events. There is plenty of food, music, games, and prizes at the party, which are all centered around the theme. The seniors and their parents have been raising money from several school fundraisers throughout their four years in high school, forming a budget for their special night. While this is an incredibly thoughtful way to send off the seniors, is it worth the high cost?

Each student will pay one hundred and sixty dollars to attend this year’s Project Graduation events. If students cannot afford the dues, they do not have to pay. This fee covers the Graduation Dinner Dance, the after party at Benjamin Franklin Middle School, the buses to transport students to the after party at the middle school, a DJ for the party, and other entertaining activities. Additionally, seniors receive a framed baby picture and a gift when they leave in the morning. Other costs include the Ridgewood High School Alumni t-shirts, wristbands for the party and ceremony, the Thanksgiving reunion brunch in November, and security for the party. Along with construction and decorating fees, the cost begins to stack up.

The budget for Project Graduation is built with the class of 2018’s fundraisers. The Senior Fashion Show almost always raises the most amount of money each year. Smaller fundraisers, like the fall senior parent mixer and the holiday boutique, contribute to Project Graduation too.

Project Graduation is a very special event for seniors to make their last few days at Ridgewood High School memorable. However, some question as to whether the cost of this celebration is necessary. It is a large amount of money and time spent on just one night. Other schools do not have such extravagant graduation nights — does this make them any less special or memorable? Also, people wonder if this money, accumulated over four years from the graduating class’s donations, could be used for more permanent investments. Would new computers or upgrades to the high school be smarter ways to spend Project Graduation’s large budget?

In my opinion, Project Graduation is worth the price, and is an amazing way for the seniors to end their years in Ridgewood Public Schools. Parent volunteers have spent many hours on fundraising efforts, as well as designing and building the scenery for the party, and their efforts make Project Graduation a thrilling experience for every senior class. It is so interesting to see what theme the planners chose, and how it all comes together to transform the BF gym into another world for the evening. I think there are many reasons why Project Graduation’s cost is justified, but most importantly, the seniors enjoy it. They get to spend an enjoyable evening with their classmates, and it is the last time they will be together as a grade. While some may have to say teary goodbyes, their final day as RHS will be a happy memory they cherish forever, thanks to Project Graduation.

James Ellinghaus
staff writer

Graphics: Amelia Chen

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