After each high school graduation, the schools in the northwest host Grad Nights to give kids an enjoyable and safe night.

file/Randy Metcalf

Last week, event organizers held the 11th annual Project Graduation Business Breakfast with the intention of getting people interested in helping and donating to the cause.

Project Graduation, which was spearheaded by Oro Valley Councilwoman Mary Snider, is an event that is held each year, at each high school the night of graduation. The intention of the event is to give the students one last night together in a fun and safe environment. 

During the breakfast, numerous former students, school and public officials spoke about why they feel project graduation is so important.

One of those was Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath, who is especially close to the project, seeing as his son is graduating high school at the end of this school year. He spoke during the event not as a mayor, but “as the most important role in my life – as a father.”

“I am here to tell you, as a father, it is very selfish why we do this,” Hiremath said as he spoke to the group of graduating seniors in attendance. “And when you grow older, you will understand. There is no love greater than the love of a parent to their child.”

Each year, parents, teachers, staff, and the businesses in the community come together to create the exciting and drug- and alcohol-free evening. Ticket sales for the events cover about half of the expenses for the Grad Night events. Project Graduation asks businesses each year to partner with them to continue offering the program.

Lauren Dobbin, who is a senior at Canyon Del Oro High School, wrote an article for Bear Essential News for Kids while she attended Copper Creek Elementary School. The article explained why she felt it was an important element to the community and also how she was personally looking forward to attending once she became a senior.

“I can not tell you how excited I am to be a senior and to finally experience Project Graduation. I can’t wait to see the surprises the parents have been planning for us all year.”

As a fundraiser for Project Graduation, there is the Oro Valley Cup Golf Tournament, which is held each year at the Hilton-El Conquistador Country Club in Oro Valley. This year, the tournament will be held on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. All of the proceeds from the tournament go toward the Grad Night Celebrations at Ironwood Ridge, Canyon Del Oro and Amphitheater high schools.

The tournament is currently accepting raffle and silent auction items, as well as sponsorship opportunities. For more information about the golf tournament, go to www.ovcup.com.

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