PARIS — “We are going back to normal Project Graduation.”

So says Jeni Jordan, health education teacher at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School who is co-chairing this year’s Project Graduation planning committee, along with Torrey Poland, who is an instructional math coach at the school.

The two have pulled out all the stops to organize volunteers, schedule activities and jumpstart fundraising to give Oxford Hills’ Class of 2022 the send-off they deserve. Community member Brenda Moore, who had been instrumental in planning previous Project Graduations, has returned this year to work with Jordan and Poland to bring it back.

“As alumni who attended this as students, and working here and wanting the safety of all our kids, we said ‘no’,” Jordan told the Advertiser Democrat during a Zoom interview last week. “We decided to step in and get this ball rolling again. We’ve been working with Brenda and the three of us sat down, we’ve recruited through Facebook to our 2022 parents and our 2023 parents. We have an awesome committee that meets on Tuesdays. We’ve got some parents that are just moving, getting volunteers and sponsors for things.”

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School is bringing back its all-night Project Graduation celebration on June 11. It will be the first time it is held since 2019. Here, 2018 graduate Briana Spinhirn is shown taking part in a limbo competition four years ago. Supplied photo

It took almost no time to line up more than 50 school staff members to chaperone this year’s Project Graduation, which will will start at 10 p.m. June 11 and run straight through until 5 a.m. the next morning.

What is trickier at this point of planning is figuring out costs and how to cover them with just a few weeks to go before graduation. Jordan said it can cost as much as $40,000 to present a Project Graduation for a class of 265 students.


The committee’s 15 members are searching for businesses, organizations and individuals to sponsor the hours of activities being planned for the all-night celebration, including a late night movie showing, some inflatable obstacle courses, a midnight improve performance featuring Steve Corning, and “station” stops for tie-dyeing, caricature artists, nail-painting and other entertainment.

Jordan said they also need to line up suppliers for a 10 p.m. opening cook-out and 4 a.m. breakfast wrap-up as well as raffle prizes including bigger ticket items.

“We’re working on an Amazon wish list,” Jordan explained. “For college prep or apartment prep things like microwaves, refrigerators, towel sets and bedding sets – all the things you would need to go to college or when you move out on your own.

The Amazon wish list can be found here:

Anyone wishing to make a cash donation can do so using Brenda Moore’s Venmo account: @Brenda-Moore-226.

People who would like to help or donate may also contact Jordan directly at


Among the groups offering time and resources is Bennett Radio Group in Norway.

“We are doing a radiothon on 92.7 WOXO this Thursday May 26th from 6am-5pm to raise money for OHCH Project Graduation,” said Stan Bennett, owner and program director of the station in an email statement. “We’ll have guests in through-out the day while we ask listeners to donate what they can. 100% of the funds raised go to costs associated with OHCH project graduation.”

Project Graduation 2022 will start following OHCHS’ senior graduation ceremonies, which will be at Gouin Field June 11 at 7 p.m. Activities will take place throughout the high school’s main floor hallways and common areas like the gymnasium, cafeteria and Forum.

Hope Akers, class of 2019, sporting a crown of balloons at Project Graduation celebration her senior year. Supplied photo

“We are so thankful for the opportunity to bring Project Graduation back to the Oxford Hills where it was originally started back in 1980,” parent and volunteer Angela Bancroft of Paris said. “Our youngest son is a senior this year, and it is very comforting that he and his classmates can go to a safe and fun location to share one final evening all together.

“As parents, we will be able to rest easy knowing the Class of 2022 will be together but off the roads and away from any dangerous situation that may arise on a night of celebration. It is a community effort to make this happen. We appreciate all of the donations, the volunteer hours and the support the Oxford Hills community is giving to these kids. Project Graduation was created right in this town to keep our youth safe, and it has worked. It is very important to bring back and keep this tradition forever.”

“I am so excited for project grad!” added senior Emily Cummings of Norway. “It’s one of those things that you hear about so much and when you finally get the opportunity experience it it’s really awesome. It’s also cool to hear about where it originated from and the whole purpose, it’s nice to think the adults in our community care enough about us to put something like this together.”

“We want our kids to enjoy everything we hoped they would do in high school and this year we can do that,” Jordan said. “We’re having a normal prom, everything about it is as it used to be. And we want graduation and Project Grad will be normal. We want them to  finish out high school in the way we envisioned for them. We want the enjoy their last moments of being together and to be safe and healthy on one of the most important nights of their life.”


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