The Greater Naples YMCA and Project Graduation committee will recognize and celebrate the county’s graduates on May 29, by providing goodie bags to all 3,500 seniors at Collier County Public Schools’ drive-thru graduation. Due to COVID-19, Project Graduation is unable to have their regular, county-wide celebration at the YMCA. The Y and Project Graduation committee members still want to be able to recognize and honor the graduating class of 2020 during this period of social distancing and isolation.
The Greater Naples YMCA is honored to again host the Project Graduation tradition. Now in its 35th year, Project Graduation celebrates Collier County graduating seniors. With the support of local community partners, including Arthrex, Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Elias Brother Group, and Clever Products, representatives from each school will stuff goodie bags with gift certificates and prizes from local businesses including Royal Scoop, Texas Roadhouse, Il Primo Pizza and Wings, Starbucks, and many more.
The artwork of Karen Trejo Villegas, graduating senior from Golden Gate High School, will be represented in the goodie bag. Project Graduation hosts an annual art contest to develop the Project Graduation artwork. Golden Gate High School art teacher Teresa Tooley said, “I feel that Project Graduation fosters a sense of community and accomplishment for our graduating seniors.” This year, graduates will receive a commemorative decal instead of the traditional T-shirts for the night of Project Graduation.
YMCA Past Board President and current Board member, Mick Moore, shares the YMCA’s passion for this project, stating that “During these tough times of social distancing and isolation, we want to continue the tradition and make the graduates in our community feel special. This year has a special meaning for me personally. My own daughter is graduating this year, so I know first-hand how important it is to embrace our seniors and show them that, although things are different this year, we recognize their achievements”. The YMCA is proud to be working with the School District on this important project.