Durham may have to cancel Project Graduation 2020 if financial needs aren't met, leaders say

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hundreds of Durham high school seniors are preparing to turn their tassels and change their status to graduate in the coming weeks.

The final goodbye and celebration, Project Graduation of Durham, will be held on June 13 at the Durham Convention Center.

Project Graduation is a celebration of a huge milestone. It's liked by parents because it allows their children to celebrate in a safe manner.

"They have a safe place to come with no alcohol and no drugs," Courtney Fauntleroy, Chairperson of Project Graduation of Durham said.

For 31 years, a safe celebration has been had. But year 32, Project Graduation 2020, is in danger.

The event is hanging in jeopardy after corporate sponsors have slowly disappeared.

"Right now, we're in a little bit of trouble financially," Fauntleroy said. "Well, let me be more clear -- we're in a lot of trouble financially."

Students attend free of charge. For Project Graduation to put on the event, which also provides scholarships, the cost is a minimum of $16,000.

Fauntleroy said the majority of graduates attend the celebration.

"When I graduated, I attended project graduation where I'm from," Tricia Degree, Vice Chair of Project Graduation of Durham.

Degree's daughter will be a senior next year. She fears her daughter won't have the opportunity to celebrate as she did.

"It makes me feel very sad. She's looking forward to attending project graduation."

Officials said 100% of donations made go directly to the event. Everyone who works with Project Graduation is a volunteer.

If a monetary donation isn't possible, volunteers are always needed.

"We need people to help set up tear down and to man the inflatables room and the grand ballroom," Degree said.
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