By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon High School’s graduating seniors are preparing for a late-night celebration of epic proportions.
Featuring a cornucopia of memory-making activities, Yukon Project Graduation returns May 20-21 to the Redlands Community College campus.
“We’re super-excited that it will be back at Redlands,” said Janet Corn-Harris, president of the 2021-22 Yukon Project Graduation board. “We got through all the senior activities last week and are really looking forward to Friday night.
“We’re all senior parents on the board this year, so we have a lot vested in this.”
Fresh off Friday night’s commencement at Miller Stadium, members of the YHS Class of 2022 will load busses around 10 p.m. and head west to El Reno.
Awaiting them at Yukon Project Graduation will be a thrill-filled night as they rejoice finishing high school with their classmates.
The new YHS graduates will enjoy casino games, bingo, a midway, inflatables, hypnotist show, karaoke, food buffet, prizes, and more. They’ll be bussed back to Yukon early Saturday morning.
The Yukon Project Graduation committee won’t know until Thursday how many seniors in the 616-member Class of 2022 will attend.
Participating students will each receive their themed YHS Project Graduation T-shirt after graduation practice that night.
“We’re planning for a big crowd and we’re just real excited for this group of kids,” Corn-Harris said. “We want it to be the best yet.”
Yukon Project Graduation began in May 1991 to provide a safe, alcohol- and drug-free graduation night party for new YHS graduates.
Yukon’s overnight graduation celebration returns this year to Redlands for the first time since May 2019. In 2020 and 2021, new YHS graduates attended an abbreviated version of Project Graduation on the YHS campus.
Volunteers have spent the past week decorating at Redlands. This week, committee members will pick up prizes and food to prepare for the YHS graduates’ arrival.
PAYING THE FREIGHT
The Yukon Project Graduation board was pleased with the results of several recent fund-raisers that have helped pay for Friday night’s big event.
A luminary walk on May 13 at Chisholm Trail Park brought in more than $5,000.
An online auction from April 14-23 and T-shirt sales each raised around $4,000-$5,000.
Many groups and individuals also made donations to support the cause. In fact, the YHS Class of 1992 collected more than $1,500 to give.
“The community outreach we’ve had has been really nice,” Corn-Harris said. “We’ve just been really blessed that people have stepped up and helped us.
“That’s why we’re going to have such a great event for the kids.”
Some $30,000-$50,000 must be collected annually to cover the costs of Yukon’s Project Graduation.
“After paying everything, we’re going to have around $29,000 left that we can spend on larger gifts for the kids – and then we’ll leave a starting balance for next year,” Corn-Harris said.
“We’re real happy we ended up ahead. We were afraid we were going to be really short.”
Serving with Corn-Harris on the 2021-22 Yukon Project Graduation board are Vice President Jarrid Wright, Treasurer Kari Newport, Treasurer Kelly Stogsdill, and Secretary Kelly Means.
They will be among about 40-50 volunteers who will be at Redlands overnight Friday to ensure the success of the 2022 Yukon Project Graduation.
“We’re looking forward to spoiling these kids one last night,” Corn-Harris said.