Not many Copperas Cove High School seniors might be thinking about graduation now, but a group of dedicated parents is well on its way to funding a party to remember.

Each year, parents of seniors host fundraisers for Project Graduation, which provides a safe alternative for graduating seniors to celebrate the end of high school.

“The goal is, once they walk across the stage, to have an alcohol- and drug-free place where they can party and go home safe the next day to their parents,” said Dorothy Lyons, co-leader of this year’s Project Graduation group. “It’s just a big party so they’re not drinking and driving and getting in trouble.”

Last month, the organization held its annual Christmas gift-wrapping fundraiser and took in more than $900 by Dec. 24, according to a post on the Project Graduation Facebook page.

Four more fundraisers — a Harlem Ambassadors basketball game and show, a barbecue fundraiser, a Rabbit Fest fundraiser and a powerlifting meet concessionsale — are planned this year.

“It’s still in the planning stage for the other fundraisers,” said Project Graduation co-leader Charles Lyons. “It’s a community thing. We look for the support of the community.”

Currently, the location and theme of this year’s party are still being discussed. In past years, parties have taken place at the high school, the movie theater and on campgrounds.

“We’ve got a survey going out to the kids in the next couple of weeks asking them what they want to do,” Charles Lyons said. “We take input from them, see what’s available and affordable.”

The Lyons haven’t set a fundraising goal, but Charles Lyons said they will just try to raise as much as they can and spend it all on the party, including prizes for the students.

Past Project Graduation parties have included casino games, inflatables and movies for the graduates’ entertainment.

“From what I’ve seen, it’s the last time for a lot of the seniors to get together and have fun,” said Belinda Juarez, 12th-grade counselor at Copperas Cove High School. “We’ve had a good turnout every year. I’d love to see all the seniors (attend). It’s an optional place to go hang out with friends and be safe. That’s been a plus for Copperas Cove to have that.”

The next meeting of the Project Graduation parent organization is at 6 p.m. Monday at Lil’ Tex restaurant.

Contact Audrey Spencer at or (254) 501-7476

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