Formal graduation ceremonies are over, and it’s time to party! Time for one last high school memory.

But where?

The 12th annual Project Graduation Celebration began at 10 p.m. Friday at the DeSoto County High School gym, and would continue strong until 3 a.m. The evening included dancing, entertainment, games, food and prizes for the 2019 DCHS graduates and their guests. Focused on a good time, the event provides a safe party atmosphere on an evening with one of the highest statistics for teenage alcohol/drug influenced accidents and fatalities.

The special entertainment began for 167-plus party-goers at midnight with Jon Simon, a board certified master hypnotist and comedian. His performance began with a few quick response screening questions, for example, “what do you do at a green light?” While Simon held out his hand indicating stop, most of the audience quickly responded STOP! Simon responded, “Now ... I would have expected that from a Hardee Wildcat!”

Twenty-three volunteers were invited to fill chairs on the gym floor. Within five minutes most of them were guided into a relaxing state of hypnosis. Over the next few minutes Simon checked each participant as he helped them reach a deeper state of hypnosis. However, eight of those volunteers showed signs they had not quite reached that total state of relaxation and were awoken from whatever level they had reached and were asked to returned to the bleacher stands.

The audience watched in amazement as Simon’s volunteers became the stars of the show, which was extremely funny and G-rated. At one point three volunteers were asked to put on wigs, lipstick and to make a runway beauty pageant walk; then two of them danced together. When all of the volunteers were asked to dance to a variety of tunes, including “Y.M.C.A.”, one member of the audience joined in.

Simon said, “Occasionally someone in the audience also becomes hypnotized.” All volunteers were told they would remember nothing from their time under hypnosis and then were awoken. The show lasted about 70 minutes.

Following Jon Simon’s performance the 2019 graduates returned to dancing, a variety of games of chance, and some awesome monetary prizes until the wee hours of the morning.

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