Back in January, I wrote about a simple yet significant survey I created to help me in my role as chairperson of Project Graduation, a high school parent volunteer organization that plans the senior all-night graduation party. This past Sunday, the tangible results of that survey were unveiled.
Shortly after the graduation ceremony ended, more than 75% of the senior class returned to the high school to attend a party in their honor. The decorations, games, entertainment, prizes and food were outstanding; I overheard one graduate say, “It keeps getting better and better and better,” as he caught a glimpse of the money machine, circulating real cash.
This was my sixth year pulling an all-nighter in support of Project Graduation, and I, too, think this year topped all others. I attribute our success to that simple survey, sent to other Project Graduation chairpeople throughout Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools.
At the request of survey respondents, I scheduled the first county-wide Project Graduation meeting, where committee members — representing most of the district’s high schools — shared information on how they handle the main elements of Project Graduation party planning, including publicity, prizes, volunteers, ticket sales, games, entertainment, food and decorating. I even invited the fire marshal to speak, since survey responses had indicated that decorating within county fire regulations was one of the biggest challenges.
By working collaboratively and leveraging the ideas and creativity of many to address complex issues, each of us walked away with new ideas to share with our own committees. And the result for our high school was the best all-night graduation party yet. At least until next year.