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End of the year activities bringing the community together

A fun and exciting event held through the night

Alex Chase, Staff Writer

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With summer approaching fast, parents of the community hold an annual event for the graduating class. Giving seniors one last chance to come together as one.

Project Sunrise is a night of games, activities and entertainment that is held the night before graduation. From a mechanical bull, to a hypnotist and even a masseuse, the intention is to keep kids in an alcohol and drug free environment. Chair of the parent committee Jennifer Harnish believes that this is a way for each and every student to celebrate their graduation in a positive way.

“In our community we have a very high population of under-the-poverty-line families who may not be able to create a celebration, receive gifts and have a large party,” said Harnish. “We just want to be able to create an amazing event for our kids, because we are proud of them, and we love them.”

Group participation is essential to ensure the entire graduating class has a great experience. Mia LaFlamme, who graduated in 2016, believes it’s a great way to end the year on a positive note.

“I believe it’s beneficial to everyone,” said LaFlamme. “It’s like one last goodbye and helps people who can’t afford class dues cover the cost.”

Although Harnish did not divulge what this year’s Project Sunrise will provide, Laflamme had her own favorite activities.

“The most exciting part was the comedian,” said LaFlamme. “He just knew the right things to make fun of without going over the top.”

Teachers like Patricia Woodbury spend the whole school year watching their students slowly wind down. They see the drama, and the fights. She describes how this is an important event to leave all that behind. Or how we were told freshmen year, to drop our ‘cool cards.’

“From a teacher’s perspective, I hope the seniors realize that they have each other,” said Woodbury. “This seems like one last opportunity for them to be together and celebrate their accomplishments.”

However, Project Sunrise isn’t just an event here in Biddeford. Principal Jeremy Sirois who previously worked at York High School remembers the similar event their seniors experienced.

“The night of graduation, students would meet in the in the gym and we would board coach buses,” said Sirois. “The evening would start with a dinner with a dinner at Foster’s Clambake.”

Although the same events may not happen between schools, the intentions for the students are the same. In order to keep the students safe, activities for York ran until seven the next morning.

The exact history of Project Sunrise is unknown. However, Michelle Deshaies, a senior here at BHS, witnessed all three of her older siblings experience Project Sunrise. Two of which graduated in 2005, and one in 2013.

“I know all my siblings had fun,” said Deshaies. “I know that I’m going to also.”

Harnish also talked with many generations of people during fundraisers who talked about their very own Project Sunrise.

“People at the football parking lot who are in their 70’s had a Project Sunrise,” said Harnish. “It’s part of our culture.”

In hope that this event will continue on in the future, LaFlamme encourages seniors to branch out and talk with those classmates they never got the chance to know.

“It should continue for years to come,” said LaFlamme. “It gives students a safe, fun, and healthy atmosphere to hang out and get to know some of your classmates that you haven’t really talked to.”

Parent volunteers spend relentless hours raising money, meeting weekly, and collecting donations for nearly a year in order to provide a night the seniors will never forget. The class of 2017 is next on the list of this wonderful and safe tradition.

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
End of the year activities bringing the community together