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LHS graduate concerned with Project Grad

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A Lebanon High School 2020 graduate is upset with the organizers of the annual Project Graduation after-party - not only for holding the event but divvying up the remaining donated funds to the teens who attended. Following the June 27 graduation at the Cowan Civic Center, students loaded up on buses and took a trip to Andy B’s in Springfield, where they spent the night hanging out with friends and playing games. Project Grad is a longstanding tradition organized by the parents of graduating seniors. The purpose of the event is to give graduates a safe alcohol and drug free place to celebrate. According to the recently graduated senior, James Hopkins, who chose not to attend the after graduation event, Project Grad was “reckless and irresponsible” because of the chance of transmission of COVID-19 between attendees.

“You can’t wash your hands of this. For this to happen, physicians, health departments, and all manner of warnings have to be ignored,” Hopkins wrote in a letter to the event’s organizers. “While I blame the governor and the state of Missouri, I also without any doubt blame you for this. You put people at risk because you thought that me and my peers deserved a party even if that party would be unsafe.” The event organizers, however, say that many precautions were taken, including efforts made to help with social distancing. “After discussion with the manager of the event venue, the committee was assured that the capacity of the venue was twice what was recommended for social distancing, food would be served individually, rather than buffet style and there was hand sanitizer and masks provided all around,” wrote Shellie Weaver, one of the event’s organizers, in an email to the Record. “The buses transporting the group were not at capacity. Masks were handed out as students got on the bus, along with everyone using hand sanitizer before boarding.” For more on this story see Wednesday's LCR.

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