Online fundraiser to support Edwardsburg High School seniors

EDWARDSBURG — COVID-19 has already caused the Class of 2020 to miss out on many milestones, including prom, sporting seasons and students’ final semester with their childhood friends. However, one Edwardsburg group is working to ensure that this year’s senior class is still able to celebrate graduation night.

Following the cancellation of an in-person fundraiser scheduled for March 28, Edwardsburg’s Project Graduation will host a social distancing silent auction and reverse raffle May 9. The reverse raffle will be live-streamed from 6 to 7 p.m. from the parking lot at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Edwardsburg. Then, from 7 to 10 p.m., an online auction will take place, allowing locals to bet on items ranging from home décor to sports memorabilia to vacation packages to mystery envelopes.  All items are currently available for viewing at the auction website, accelevents.com/e/jbourne.

All proceeds from the online event will benefit Edwardsburg’s Project Graduation. Project Graduation is a nationwide program where the parents of a school’s graduating class band together to raise money to provide a safe post-graduation party for the students that is both alcohol- and drug-free. In Edwardsburg, the details of the event have always been kept a secret from the participating seniors.

“It’s just one of those things you look back on and remember for a lifetime — I still remember my project graduation in 2001,” said Edwardsburg High School Vice Principal Josh Bourne of Project Graduation. “We have been doing this for 25 years, and we don’t want our seniors to lose out on this opportunity just because of the crazy circumstances. … It’s the last time [the seniors] are all in the same place, and we want to provide a way for them to celebrate that without having to worry about them making any bad decisions or being in any potential danger.”

With graduation plans and future COVID-19 social distancing restrictions up in the air, it is currently not known when Edwardsburg seniors may be able to celebrate their project graduation. Bourne said he and the board are holding out hope to be able to host something over the summer, but should that prove not possible, they are looking at other ways to support the seniors, such as splitting the funds raised between the students to offer them a boost when they go to college.

The fundraiser on May 9 will be one of the largest hosted this year by Edwardsburg’s Project Graduation. Bourne is hoping to raise $10,000 to $12,000 of the program’s $30,000 goal from the silent auction. With thousands of dollars to be raised, he said he would encourage the community to participate in supporting a senior class that has already lost much of their senior year.

“We are blessed at Edwardsburg year in and year out to have these great graduating kids,” Bourne said. “The kids of the Class of 2020 have shown a lot of patience and understanding when their worlds have been turned upside down. We want to give them something at the end of this. We hope people will be generous and understanding for the kids.”

To purchase reverse raffle tickets, email Bourne at jbourne@goeddies.com.