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Fashion raises funds for safe graduation

Amanda Butler, Sierra Sun

Although national statistics show that many teens will lose their lives graduation night due to drug or alcohol related accidents, not a single death has occurred on graduation night in Truckee since Project Graduation started here 11 years ago.

Project Graduation is a nationwide movement dedicated to creating a fun-filled event on graduation night. Parental supervision ensures that graduates stay out of harm’s way and students are asked to sign a commitment contract in which they agree to remain drug, alcohol and tobacco free for the event.

On Friday, March 21, 110 Tahoe-Truckee High School seniors will strut down the catwalk at the North Tahoe Convention Center in Kings Beach in an effort to raise money for Project Graduation.

This year’s fashion show kicks off at 7 p.m. and features clothing from every apparel store in Truckee. Tickets can be purchased at the Four Seasons Florist or from a TTHS senior.

“It’s important because it gives (the students) a place to come together and party with their friends in an environment that is safe, without drugs or alcohol,” said Project Graduation 2001 committee member Julie Pratt.

The graduation event is organized by parents and is kept secret from graduating seniors, who board a bus not knowing where they will spend the night. Drawings are conducted throughout the evening to raffle off valuable prizes donated by local businesses and students are treated to a nice dinner.

“The fashion show is our biggest fund-raiser. It was started about 5 years ago and it usually raises about $6,000,” said event coordinator Debbie Babb.

“Twenty-three stores in town as well as two others in Tahoe City are participating,” said Babb. “Everything from ski wear to nice dresses and tuxedos will be modeled.”

But $6,000 dollars is only a small portion of the estimated $26,000 (about $140 per graduate) that the committee has to come up with to fund graduation night. The rest of the money is raised through community donations.

“In the past some classes have been asked to pay a fee to participate,” said Babb. “Our hope is that this year that won’t have to happen. We don’t want to turn away a single kid, anyone who wants to go should be able to.”

It is that mentality that has helped the parents of Tahoe-Truckee seniors prevent the deaths of their graduates.

Tickets are $16 for adults and $13 for students.

For more information, call Julie Pratt at 582-4033.


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