Two Oahu high schools are combining their Project Grads

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Graduation season is in full swing and it’s become tradition for high school graduates to attend the alcohol-free, all-night party known as, “Project Grad.”

Low sign-ups are forcing two public schools to do something they’ve never done before — combine theirs into one.

They’re from different parts of the island, rivals on the field and court.

But come graduation night, they’ll be making memories together.

“At first I was a little nervous,” Kaimuki High School senior Victor DeMarco said.

This year, Kaimuki and Farrington High Schools are holding their Project Grads together Saturday night.

“I do not know anyone from Farrington, but it’ll give me an opportunity to meet friends,” DeMarco said.

“We always wanted to try to combine with other schools to pull our resources together,” Kaimuki High School’s Project Grad volunteer Edison Chong said.

Last year, Kaimuki’s Project Grad started off with activities at a church on campus, then they went to Podium Raceway, then to the Waikiki Ocean Club.

“We feed them well and they have great activities,” Chong said.

Every year, they aim for 100 seniors to sign up.

“Just for the economy of scale,” Chong said.

But this year, only 65 seniors from Kaimuki turned in their papers and money.

“Initially it was $125, but now it’s $150,” Chong said.

That’s why Kaimuki is teaming up with Farrington.

“There is some rivalry sometimes but all the graduates are all happy and I don’t think there’s going to be a problem,” Chong said.

So far, only 15 seniors from Farrington are going to Project Grad.

“It’s really a slow start at Farrington.  It’s been a struggle,” Chong said.

Kaimuki and Farrington aren’t the only schools that have had trouble getting enough students to sign up.

Waianae High School has also had trouble, with only 75 students signed up.

Last year, Waianae’s Project Grad was held at Wet ‘n Wild.

“We have thought about combining with Nanakuli because we know it’s a small school.  We should’ve, we should’ve tried to,” Waianae High School’s Project Grad Chairperson Nikki Kay said.

She said they’ll consider looking into that for next year.

But for now, Kay says they’re hoping another 25 students will sign up by Friday, or that they’ll get more donations, or else they’ll have to cut out some activities.

“Every Project Grad in the State of Hawaii would appreciate any kind of donations people can give them,” Chong said.

Project Grad is not paid for by the Department of Education.

Parents and volunteers form a committee,and raise money to help minimize the amount students have to pay.

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