EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — New grads and their guests had the chance to head back to Egg Harbor Township High School together one last time Thursday night for Project Graduation before they take that giant step forward to their lives beyond high school.
For the hundreds of kids that made Project Graduation a part of their graduation night, it was a huge party with music, food, games, karaoke and loads of fun. For Scott Mahrer who heads the Project Graduation steering committee, it is an event.
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Anthony Talvacchio and Isabell Hernandez are heading back to the 70’s at EHTHS Project Graduation
Hanging with their peeps at EHTHS Project Graduation from left are Maria Flem, Delilah Hoyos, Hannah Maples and Paulina Polanco.
Nicole Delaconte, Patricia Miragello and Amanda Swankowski check in at Project Graduation at EHTHS Thursday, June 21.
Scott Mahrer, head of the EHTHS Project Graduation shows off the silver anniversary cake for the event that is 25 years and going strong.
Noah Prescott, Allison Bishop, Julia Ebernz and Rich West are ready to rock through the decades at the 2018 Project Graduation at EHTHS.
Kaitlyn Zimmerman and Mickey Caville are headed into the 80’s at EHTHS Project Graduation
EHTHS grads and friends play games at Project Graduation.
EHTHS grad Julissa Villaoro paints a sentiment on a rock at Project Graduation Thursday, June 21.
Tammi Gutierrez paints at EHTHS Project Graduation.
A little pogo stick sibling rivalry between sisters Madison and Olivia Barney at EHTHS Project Graduation.
Photo booth time for Shayla Espinal, Yuli Bet Salazar, and Yennomy Ovalles.
The games at EHTHS Project Graduation were a little skill and a lot of fun.
Alysa Miller and Quiara Correa try their luck at pool during EHTHS Project Graduation.
Karaoke was part of the EHTHS Project Graduation fun.
Enjoying a really fun last night at the high school for the EHTHS Project Graduation include friends from left; Zaria Woodford, Brooke Oliver, Ajae Alvarez, Lauren Princz, Siani Megrouder, and Ariayana Davis.
Don’t turn that dial on this sketch of Andrew Garcia and Anthony Gaeir at EHTHS Project Graduation.
Planning on fun at EHTHS Project Graduation are from left Brandi Nolan, Andrew Garcia, Saima Farooz and Anthony Gaeir.
Every volunteer at EHTHS Project Graduation is committed to making sure every kid has a great night including Donna Moran, left and Sharon Santana.
EHTHS Project Graduation included something for everyone including some basketball.
Every grad was encouraged to sign a banner at EHTHS Project Graduation Thursday, June 21 including Brianna Rios and Natalie Vavrela.
Donald Vinyard slides into a hot set of wheels at EHTHS Project Graduation.
Getting set to head indoors for a good time at EHTHS Project Graduation include from left; Antonae Robinson, Lakesha Lewis, Noriah Wiggens and Ivaleesah Murray.
Mahrer said when he and his wife were returning home from the very first Project Graduation 25 years ago, they both agreed this was something that could really be something positive for the EHTHS students. “Both of us agreed, we never wanted to hear about one of our local kids being injured or killed in an accident just a few hours after graduating from high school,” said the organizer.
“Other people who had begun Project Graduation in other school districts told us we would be lucky to get 50 percent of the students that first year and we had 70 percent. Our kids want to be here, and this year roughly 85 percent of the 540 graduating seniors will be back at the high school tonight,” Mahrer said.
As a surprise at Thursday’s big event, Mahrer’s wife ordered a giant cake to celebrate 25 years of Project Graduation. As she picked up the cake, the baker walked out and said to her that he had graduated in 2013 and he knows that Project Graduation saved a lot of kids' lives that year and every year by giving them a safe place to go and celebrate after their graduation.
Mahrer said the National Transportation Safety Board said in 1998 that Project Graduation and other similar events were a positive tool in preventing teen deaths from drinking and driving.
“We just want to keep our kids safe and let them have a great evening,” said Mahrer. “We all feel like we are helping keep our kids safe and that is the bottom line.”