New nutrition guidelines impact Project Grad funding

Eryn Lyle, Staff Writer

Project Graduation is an annual all-night celebration for seniors that follows the graduation ceremony in June. However, this year the program may be in trouble: Food Frenzy, an annual fundraiser for Project Grad, has been severely restricted by new nutrition rules.

“They’ve kind of been phasing [the rules] in,” Project Grad President Jane Crosby said. “This year, it really hit.”

Part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the United States Department of Agriculture’s new guidelines for food sold in schools limit the sale of junk food while promoting healthier alternatives. This means that several of the items on Food Frenzy’s menu are now banned during school hours.

“We can’t sell candy, we can’t sell Coke, we can’t even sell Gatorade,” Crosby said. “It has to be low calorie.”

Food Frenzy may be held after school, according to state law, and other non-school day events like Round Up can still sell food, but nevertheless this poses a major problem for Project Grad’s budget.

Regardless, the 2015 Project Grad organization aims to make the celebration enjoyable for seniors.

“We’ve had to get creative in our funding this year,” Co-president Melissa Teague said. “Some states have allowed one or two [food days] for things like this. We are crossing our fingers that Texas might do the same. Until then, we have to find other funding.”

The organization hopes to raise money through other planned events, such as a car wash that took place on September 27, and the upcoming Rice Festival on October 11-12. Next semester, annual activities like Powder Puff Football will raise additional revenue to make up for Food Frenzy’s anticipated loss of funds.

Project Graduation will be held at Main Event this year with activities including dancing, bowling, ropes course, caricature art and arcade games, in addition to the raffles that most of the Project Grad funding goes to. It follows a morning graduation ceremony and will last all night from 12 to 6 a.m.

“Project Grad is a last chance for seniors to celebrate with all their friends as a class,” Teague said. “We want to make it as enjoyable as we can for the students.”