WESTBOROUGH – Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. stopped by Westborough High School on Wednesday to present a $1,375 check to go toward its Project Graduation program.
A volunteer organization, Project graduation strives to provide Westborough seniors with a safe, drug and alcohol free night to celebrate.
“We’re incredibly grateful that they contribute toward our end-of-year celebration, which is Project Graduation,” Project Graduation Board President Karen Henderson said during Early’s check presentation.
This isn’t the first time that Project Graduation has received this funding from the district attorney’s office.
Two grants totaling $1,500 previously sent money to to Project Graduation and the Westborough Police Department in 2019.
Last year, Early’s office additionally helped contribute to Project Graduation’s memory lane event.
As contributions continue, this year is extra special because Project Graduation is celebrating its 30th year.
The organization estimated that over the past five years before the COVID-19 pandemic, about 90% of seniors have attended the event.
Held at Teamworks in Northborough, the overnight event features numerous activities. For example, the 2018 celebration was a “safari” theme and even featured animals like an alligator, boa constrictor, lemur and long-haired rabbit.
“We keep kids safe on the night of graduation with an overnight,” Henderson said.
As she described it, Project Graduation gives parents “peace of mind knowing that their kids are safe that evening.”
She said Project Graduation was “thrilled” to receive the funds from Early’s office, which came through the office’s ENDD grant.
Those dollars, in turn, are made possible through the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance Drunk Driving Trust Fund.
“The DA’s office has been very supportive of Project Graduation in Westborough and one of the reasons that we can continue to provide a safe environment for those kids overnight,” Henderson said.
Early’s office is issuing $25,000 to 18 Worcester County Schools this year, all with a focus on preventing instances of students drinking and driving after graduation.
“This time of year should be a celebration for our students and their families,” Early said in a press release. “These celebrations can turn into tragedies in the blink of an eye when drinking and driving is involved. These programs help keep kids safe while they have fun and celebrate rituals of high school life.”