By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon’s celebration for graduating seniors will be back at a familiar place next month.
Yukon High School Project Graduation will be overnight on Friday, May 20 at Redlands Community College in El Reno.
The 31st annual “big event” returns to the Redlands campus – where it had been on graduating night for 28 years from 1991 through 2019.
For the past two years, a scaled-back version of Project Graduation was presented at Miller Stadium on the YHS campus due to COVID-19 restrictions.
On May 20, Yukon Project Graduation will return to all its glory.
“We are super-excited to be back at Redlands this year,” said Janet Corn-Harris, president of the 2021-22 Yukon Project Graduation board. “We’re excited for all the kids. It’s going to be a good, fun time.”
YHS Project Graduation provides Yukon’s newly minted graduates the chance to come together one final time for fun before heading off to college and career.
The event was launched as a safe, alcohol- and drug-free graduation night party for new YHS graduates – and that goal has been met since May 1991.
The goal is to have 95% participation among the estimated 605-member YHS Class of 2022.
“If we could get that many going, it would be awesome,” Corn-Harris added.
Yukon’s annual graduation ceremony will be 7 p.m. May 20 on the YHS football field, 1777 S Yukon Parkway. Each student receives 10 tickets for family and friends to attend commencement.
At 10 p.m., Yukon Project Graduation attendees will leave by bus to Redlands where they will stay up throughout the night to enjoy casino games, bingo, midway, hypnotist show, karaoke, food buffet, prizes, and more.
“It’s going to be great to back to the ‘normal’ routine at Redlands,” Corn-Harris said. “The students will be bussed back to Yukon at 6 in the morning.”
Other 2021-22 Yukon Project Graduation board members are Vice President Jarrid Wright, Treasurer Kari Newport, Treasurer Kelly Stogsdill, and Secretary Kelly Means.
More YHS senior parents are encouraged to get involved.
“We require parents to donate 10 hours of volunteer service to attend the actual Project Graduation,” Corn-Harris said.
LUMINARY WALK, ONLINE AUCTION
Some $30,000-$50,000 must be raised to present Yukon Project Graduation.
“100% of what we raise goes back to the kids – they benefit from all of it,” Corn-Harris noted.
Two events that will help fund the May 20th celebration are an online auction and luminary walk.
The online auction opened at 10 a.m. April 14 and continues through 10 p.m. April 23. Reserved graduation seats and prom packages are among featured auction items.
Bidding is open at www.32auctions.com/YHSProjectGradParty2022.
The luminary walk will be 8-10 p.m. Friday, May 13 at Chisholm Trail Park, 500 W Vandament.
YHS seniors and their families are encouraged to walk through the lights. Each luminary will have the name of the graduating senior printed on the front.
School patrons, organizations, businesses, booster clubs, and alumni are needed to support the luminary walk. Tax-deductible sponsorships are $20 each.
Yukon Project Graduation organizers also are seeking T-shirt sponsors to raise funds for the May 20th big event.
All YHS graduates will receive shirts on Project Graduation night – if there are enough sponsorships.
“We’re reaching out to everybody,” Corn-Harris said.
The names of up to six $500 sponsors and up to 24 $250 sponsors will be printed on the back of these keepsake shirts.
NO POTATO BAR, BUT …
One popular YHS Project Graduation benefit that was canceled in 2022 was a potato bar at the Yukon Masonic Lodge.
In place of that fundraiser, Yukon Project Grad supporters checked vaccination cards at two Oklahoma City Thunder basketball games.
“We had to have 13 volunteers – we did that on a Wednesday and a Friday and made more than we did at the potato bar,” Corn-Harris shared. “We were really glad to have the opportunity, through the Thunder, to do that.
“It worked out great for us since we didn’t have very many opportunities to fund-raise.”
Tax-deductible donations may be mailed to: Yukon Project Graduation, P.O. Box 851034, Yukon, OK 73085-1034.
For more information, call (405) 641-7966 or email Yukonprojectgraduation1991@gmail.com