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Jessica Marrone Parkes and Jackie Schatell

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Letters to the Editor

Where Are They Now?!

LHS Grads’ Dream Comes True

MANHATTAN, NY - Marc Jarman, 45, (LHS Class of ’87), had a once in a lifetime experience on March 9— he met his favorite athlete Roger Federer, played tennis with World #11 Grigor Di...

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Community Announcements

Today's Events

Police Blotter

Livingston Police Department Conducts Two Investigations Involving Motor Vehicles

March 27, 2015

LIVINGSTON, NJ — According to the Livingston Police Department, two instances involving vehicles were reported during the week of March 21 through March 27. A Livingston resident&rsquo...

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Municipal Court News

East Orange Woman Charged with Credit Card Theft with Intent to Use

March 18, 2015

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Municipal Court has charged East Orange Resident Myeisha Sturdivant, a Party City employee, with credit card fraud. The charge, originally amended to theft,...

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Press Releases

Columns

Admit U to College

Special Announcement: Admit U Consulting Now Offering Tutoring Services

Melanie and the Admit U Consulting team are excited to announce our latest business venture—our services are expanding to provide students with comprehensive college planning all under one...

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Livingston Community Corner

LHS Students' Art Exhibited at 36th Annual NJ High School duCret School of Art Show

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Recently, a multi-media showcase of works by Livingston High School (LHS) artists was selected for an exhibit at the 36th Annual NJ High School duCret School of Art Show, with t...

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Y Works

YMCA Announces New, State-of-the-art Resistance Center to Open

LIVINGSTON, NJ – The West Essex YMCA in Livingston is holding a Grand Re-Opening of the Resistance Center on April 12 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. According to the Y, the Resistance Center...

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Sobel Solutions

Public Invited to Dress for Success' "Transforming Lives Gala" Honoring Sobel & Cos.' Mike LaForge

LIVINGSTON, NJ – Sobel & Co., a Livingston-based regional certified public accounting and consulting firm, has announced that on April 23, partner, Mike LaForge, will be the first man ...

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Golda Och Academy Corner

Seventh-Grade Students Apply Judaic Lessons to Golda Och Academy's Annual Tzedakah Fair

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Golda Och Academy’s seventh-graders participated in the annual Tzedakah Fair on March 17, showcasing their multimedia projects on charitable organizations for parents, fa...

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Discount Travel News

A Week in San Diego for $474

This week’s gem, The Gaslamp Plaza Suites is a historical, European style hotel built in 1913, and listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. As you walk in, observe the plaza...

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Real Estate

LHS Class of 2014 Enjoys "Last Hoorah" at Project Graduation

By JACKIE GOLDMAN-SCHATELL

June 21, 2014 at 5:00 AM

MADISON, NJ - Following a monumental day of Livingston High School (LHS) graduation and time with families and friends, a little more than 400 of the 434 LHS Class of 2014 graduates met at the high school at 10 p.m. to take busses to a mystery location for this year’s Project Graduation. They soon found out that secret location—the Drew University Athletic Center—as they arrived at around 10:30 p.m. for a night of fun activities and last hoorahs with fellow classmates.

David Das, who is off to Montclair State University to study Information Technology in the fall said, “At first I was skeptical, but this is pretty awesome, I am not going to lie, spending time with all of my classmates before I never see them again is fun.“

Project Graduation Co-Chairs Laurie Kahn and Wendy Slavitt, who both have children entering their sophomore years at LHS, spent a year planning the event.

“We had a really good turn out this year and had amazing volunteers,” said Slavitt.

Kahn, who co-chaired Project Graduation for the third time this year said, “Project Graduation is an incredible experience for graduating seniors. It is a safe environment. They have a fantastic time. There is food and there are games. And most of all, they get to spend the last time together as a class. We love doing this for the kids. The kids are awesome.”

Echoing Kahn’s sentiments, Board of Education member Leslie Winograd who helped chaperone said, “This is a great event. It is a great chance for the kids to spend one last night together as a class. It is wonderful.”

“It is a great way for the community to come together,” said Livingston Councilman Rudy Fernandez. “It is a safe place for the kids to come and celebrate all their years here in Livingston, and a great way for them to finish their high school career and do it in a safe, safe way, which is a major concern.”

Project Graduation started in Maine, more than 20 years ago, as a relief to alcoholism after graduation. Livingston held its first Project Graduation event in 1988.

Originally, Project Graduation, with a yearly budget of around $30,000, was fully funded by the Livingston Township. However, over the past five years, it has been partially funded by the town and through fundraising efforts by parents. The goal is for it to become self-sustaining in the next couple of years.

The largest fundraiser for the event is the gift wrapping booth at the Livingston Mall. The other one is the Senior Games.

“The kids actually start fundraising for Project Graduation in fifth grade,” said Slavitt. “Each elementary school makes a donation on behalf of their fifth grade class that starts their passbook account. And that account follows them through middle school at Mount Pleasant, where they have a basket bazaar, and at the end of the year, the class again makes a donation into the passbook. At Heritage, they do the same thing. There is no class fundraiser for the freshman, sophomore or junior years because they are so busy with school and activities that it is too hard to run a fundraiser for them. So, during the senior year, the parents get involved with running the gift wrap booths and with funding that last bit for senior year. That is how we are becoming self-sustainable and won’t have to ask the town for help starting in the next few years.”

The site of Project Graduation generally changes from year to year so as to make the location a surprise for the class.

“We do our best to change the location every year, but it is very difficult because of the size of our classes to accommodate all of us, and to not be on the bus for an hour,” said Slavitt. “Last year, we were at Montclair State, and we were at Drew for the two years before that, and prior to that we were at Ramapo. The athletic center at a college is great for us because there are so many options and they are usually big enough for us. And, we are always looking for other venues.”

This year’s Project Graduation events included: an outdoor movie screen with popcorn and hotdogs; karaoke and a deejay; massage chairs and massages; a photo room where classmates could print out, hashtag and post photos to Instagram; jousting and giant twister inflatables; Texas Hold-Em and Black Jack tables; four basketball courts for basketball and soccer; and a swimming pool. At 2:30 a.m., there was a Hypnotist Show.

Sarah Hui, who is going to Northeastern in Boston this fall said, “Tonight is really fun. We went swimming for the past hour, and next we are going to the spa room.”

Ronnie Giovannigesualdo, who is off to Montclair State University to study Business said, “This event was good. I enjoyed playing basketball the best.”

Attendees also munched on snacks of pretzels from Philly Pretzels, and goodies including finger sandwiches, veggies, cupcakes, cookies, fruit, coffee, soda, water, and more, which were supplied and delivered by ShopRite.

LHS graduate Rachel Geffner, who will be attending George Washington University in the fall said, “The popcorn was really good and the inflatables looked really fun, but I didn’t do them.”

Joan Shira, who is a taking a gap year and is then going to the University of Texas in Austin said, “Project Graduation is fun; it’s really nice—a last hoorah for our senior class.”