Pizza night, EHF Wrestling Tournament to help raise funds for Project Graduation

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, March 20, 2019

NILES — After Niles High School graduates toss their graduation caps in the air this May, they will be whisked away to embark on one last adventure with their class of 2019.

The annual event is called Project Graduation. The goal is to provide a night of fun and safe activities for high school graduates.  The festivities are organized by a group of parent volunteers who devise a host of top-secret plans for the new graduates.

Darla Schneider, the district parent volunteer coordinator, said the event is an excellent way for graduates to make memories. The community can help by supporting two upcoming fundraisers that will raise funds for Project Graduation.

On Wednesday night, customers who bring a coupon to Silver Beach Pizza, 410 Vine St., St. Joseph, can have 15 percent of their bill donated to the cause. Coupons must be brought to the meal for proceeds to be donated. The coupon can be found on the Project Graduation Facebook page.

For the second year in a row, Niles High School is also bringing back an EHF Wrestling Tournament as a cap to their fundraising efforts.

The tournament will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 29. In addition to the tournament, people who attend can also enjoy concession food. People can also take pictures with wrestlers and get their autographs.

“It was a great hit last year,” Schneider said. “We asked if they would be willing to come out again, and they were super happy to do so. About half of the wrestlers are alumni so that is cool that they are coming back to give back to the kids.”

Tickets can be purchased at the door and cost $7 for general admission or $30 for five people.

On average, 175 graduates take part in Project Graduation. The night is chock-full of activities and traditionally ends with a pancake breakfast at the Howard Township Fire Department.

Last year, Niles Township firefighters offered to host the breakfast when Howard Township’s building was under construction.

Schneider said it is heartwarming to see so many in the community step up to support graduates.

“It’s just a great night where we can celebrate their accomplishments from the school year after going through commencement,” Schneider said. “Our main goal was to celebrate their success in a safe environment.”

Several fundraisers take place throughout the school year to raise money for Project Graduation. Schneider said the goal is to raise about $30,000. So far, she said about $20,000 had been raised.

She encouraged people to attend upcoming fundraisers and support the effort to create a memorable night for graduates. People interested in helping the cause can also drop off donations at Niles High School, 1441 Eagle St.

“It’s just wonderful to see the community come together to celebrate seniors,” Schneider said.