Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Project Grad is an annual project sponsored by Gardner Edgerton High School senior parents that raises money for a safe and fun after graduation party for the GEHS senior class.
Several fundraising events are held during the year, and donations are accepted all year round. At year’s end, the cities of Gardner and Edgerton have traditionally made a donation to Project Grad.
At the Edgerton council meeting on Dec. 14, Tammy Waterman, president of Project Grad, came forward during public comments to officially ask for a donation. The money goes towards paying for the facility, food and other expenses. Any money left over after expenses is divided up and given to students at the end of the night.
“We cash out and they walk away with whatever’s left. Last year each student either got a prize or they got $50 when they left,” she said.
Waterman reported 320 of 350 seniors attended the party at Olathe Community Center last year. She said this year’s class was a little bigger and that the party will again be at Olathe Community Center.
“I totally support this program – I think it’s a great program that keeps kids safe,”said Don Roberts, Edgerton mayor.
Roberts asked Waterman how much they were asking for, and she said the same as last year.
Last year, Edgerton donated $700.
Cindy Crooks, Edgerton council member, made a motion for a donation of $1000, which passed unanimously.
On Dec 18, during council updates at the Gardner city council meeting, Rich Melton, Gardner council member, mentioned that Edgerton had donated $1000 to the Project Grad the previous week and wanted to know what Gardner was donating.
“I don’t have a problem with matching Edgerton,” said Chris Morrow, Gardner mayor.
At one point in the course of discussion, Steve Shute, Gardner council president, had suggested $1500 and later, Morrow asked for and received consensus from council on that amount.
A donation was already budgeted and scheduled, but for a lessor amount.
“I actually have an invoice from them that I was holding until 2018, so [now] I’ll just surprise them,”said Laura Gourley, finance director.