As a high school senior graduates, there are certain “rites of passages” one would expect. These certainly include attending a prom and graduation ceremony. What happens AFTER is a bit more tabu. Sometimes post-prom and post-graduation celebrations become to after-parties, overnight trips to the shore, and more. One would be naive to assume that these post party celebrations are always honored with best and safest of all intentions.
In order to lessen the urge to attend these (often) unsafe parties with underage drinking, Project Graduations and Project Prom events have become a popular solution. Many school districts across the US adopted these fun sendoff celebrations. At Xplosive Entertainment, we are proud to be considered one of New Jersey’s premiere sources for project prom and project grad events entertainment and planning. We have truly developed a fun, inclusive, and fully customizable program for students to enjoy. With this said, we have a great understanding of what it takes to make a successful project grad or project prom. Below are some items to consider:
- Marketing is key. You post promote this event as “THE” event to attend. It must appear to be cool. In order to do this, we highly suggest using social media channels that teens follow. This includes Tic Tok and Snap Chat as well as Instagram. Design fun and engaging flyers and promotional videos that can be distributed through these channels.
- Involve influencers. Ultimately, most schools rely on parents, teachers, and volunteers to plan these events. Our suggestion is to select a handful of students who have the voice of the school. Involve them in some of the decision making (like which games to offer, or have them make up a music list for the DJ). If the students are involved, the will certainly attend. And, when the influential students are proud of their involvement, they will help promote and attract attendees.
- Pick the right venue. Sometimes the right venue is a sports center (like indoor multi-sport arena), other schools have been successful with FEC’s (family entertainment centers) like Freehold NJ’s iPlay America (which features an indoor arcade, go karts, ropes course, and more). Other schools rent recreation centers at community and local colleges. We at Xplosive, however, prefer when a school use’s it’s own facilities as the home base for the final farewell. All schools have ample space between the gym(s), cafeteria, auditorium, classrooms and vast hallways. By using your own school, allows you much more flexibility in your planning. It also saves you a fortune in rental costs (as some of the venue options above can range from $15,000-$25,000 per event).
- Involve the right mix of entertainment. Over the years, we have come up with an informal recipe of success. We understand that some students want to dance, others want to participate in athletic competitions like basketball and volleyball, other students prefer the arts and craft options like caricaturists, air brush artists and tie-die tee shirts. Inflatables, novelty games, photo booths and strolling talents are always a big hit! We also suggest ending the night with a stage show to bring everyone together one last time. This stage show can be a magic show or hypnotism show. To close out the night, handing out door prizes for attendees and/or showing a video recap of the graduating class is a great way to end the fun filled night.
- Having ample food and beverage is important to keep the graduates lively and awake, yet, the students tend to snack throughout and not necessarily sit and eat a full meal.
It takes a good deal of volunteers, plenty of fundraising, and ample time to plan a project grad. We’ve found that the schools who are most successful with their planning have a solid committee who runs the event year after year. One school, in particular, that has a great annual project grad uses the parents of Junior class students to run the late-night program for the graduating seniors. The senior parents are involved in preceding months of planning, but not required to volunteer their late night help the night of graduation. With this formula, each year, as the torch gets past the parents doing the planning already have a vast understanding of the event layout and logistics since they experienced it the year prior in person.
Fundraising for project graduations can be a whole other blog in itself. But as a short note, (depending on the school size) expectations of $15,000-$30,000 is a fair estimate of what it takes to pull off a very successful project grad. Begin fundraising at the start of the school year. Ideally, sourcing sponsors is a key factor in raising money. Selling advertising elements or printed congratulatory signage for the graduation is a huge help in jump starting the fundraising. (Note, we’ve seen some schools charge students in excess of $100 each to attend, while other schools offer project grad entirely for free based on their fundraising efforts.
For any questions or additional information please contact:
Project Graduation Expert