Project Graduation plans, fundraisers kick into high gear

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TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Plainville High School seniors are six months away from receiving their diplomas and heading out into the world. But before they make that transition, Plainville parents want to ensure that the last event of the school year is not only memorable, but a safer alternative to the typical post-graduation party.

On Saturday, Dec. 28, one Plainville parent set up a table at the Wheeler Regional Family YMCA in order to facilitate a clothing drive. All funds raised will benefit the PHS and Wheeler YMCA Project Graduation, which is organized yearly by a committee of volunteers.

“The overall idea of Project Graduation is that we as parents get together to throw a very huge party graduation night here at the YMCA for our graduates, basically so they aren’t out partying on the streets,” said Melissa Hidri, who joined the Project Graduation committee during the 2014-15 school year. “They’re here, they’re safe, they cannot leave, and they do all kinds of fun stuff that night.”

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According to the Plainville Community Schools website, Project Graduation costs approximately $20,000 each year. In order to raise those funds each year, the committee organizes several events and fundraisers throughout the year.

About a year ago, Hidri took over the reins of the monthly clothing drives, which are held on the last Saturday of each month. The upcoming clothing drives will be Jan. 25, Feb. 29, Mar. 28, April 25, and May 30, running from 10 a.m. to noon at the Wheeler YMCA, 149 Farmington Ave., Plainville.

This weekend, the committee will present a comedy night featuring New York City comedians Meg Patenaude, Wilson McDermut, and Frank Vignola. In addition to an evening of laughs, the event will feature a raffle and the musical stylings of DJ Eric Wells.

Comedy night will be held on Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars facility at 7 Northwest Drive, Plainville, and will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets will cost $25 at the door, or $20 in advance. For tickets, contact Project Graduation co-chairs, Christine Millette by calling (860) 869-3209, or Stevie Centurelli by calling (860) 463-3600.

Future fundraising events include a dodge ball tournament, a bake sale to be held during the Mr. PHS competition, a paint night, a zumba-thon, a Mother’s Day flower sale, a laughter yoga event, and each of the monthly clothing drives.

On the night of the Project Graduation—tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 12—graduating seniors will be able to enjoy a raffle with $5,000 worth of prizes, a casino room, access to the YMCA pool and Jacuzzi, a caricaturist, a hypnotist, inflatables, and more.

One lucky senior will be awarded the grand prize of $1,000.

The Project Graduation committee meets at 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the month at the Wheeler YMCA.

Their upcoming meetings will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 5, Wednesday, Mar. 4, Wednesday, Apr. 1, Wednesday, May 6, and Wednesday, June 3.

For those who are interested in joining the committee or those who are unable to attend meetings but still hopes to volunteer, you are encouraged to contact Millette by calling (860) 869-3209 or emailing avon_christine@yahoo.com, or Centurelli by emailing iamstevie@hotmail.com.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@PlainvilleObserver.com.