NORTH PORT — Kristin Cawthorne wants the class of 2021 to be able to celebrate their accomplishments in a festive and safe environment.

Cawthorne is president of the board for North Port Project Graduation, and she’s seeking donations to help to make the event a success.

“Normally we hold it at The Boys & Girls club, but we are not able to this year,” Cawthorne said. “Instead, we are going to have a pool party for the kids at the North Port Aquatic Center. It won’t be an overnight event. It will be less than 25% capacity in an outdoor, fresh air environment. We worked with Trish Sturgess, aquatics supervisor, to get a good deal.”

The celebration is planned for 5-8 p.m. Friday, June 4, the day after the high school graduation.

“We are following all of the CDC and the North Port Aquatic Center guidelines,” Cawthorne said. “All of the food and drinks will be individually wrapped.”

The board is hoping members of the community and local businesses will come forward and make monetary donations for prizes for the event.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do our regular fundraiser, but we will be selling senior class of 2021 yard signs, and that money will go toward purchasing prizes for the students,” Cawthorne said. “I just don’t want to fall short again this year.”

Project Graduation was cancelled last year, and the class of 2020 never had the chance to experience the annual event which started years ago.

For many years, it has traditionally been an all-night party held at the school with the intent to keep students safe while they socialize, play games and have the chance to win some really nice prizes.

Cawthorne has been involved with the organization for about six years.

Her oldest son graduated from North Port High School in 2019, and her youngest will graduate in 2022.

“We’re always looking for more volunteers and more help,” Cawthorne said. “We would love to have more volunteers.”

Every North Port High School senior is invited to attend the event for free. Just show up that day with your school ID.

Project Graduation is a nonprofit, so donations are tax-deductible.

“We’re hoping to get some more donations from the community and local businesses,” Cawthorne said.

Anyone who would like to purchase a sign for a graduating senior in the community can email Cawthorne at

To make a donation for the 2021 Project Graduation, mailed it to: P.O. Box 7911, North Port, FL 34290.

For more information, call 941-685-6405 or follow on nphsprojectgrad on Facebook.


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