annual graduation party for seniors is not only a great way to celebrate the accomplishments of 12 years of education, it's also the best way to keep teens safe on the evening of one of the biggest events in their young lives.
   As in years past, planning the gala party for almost 200 graduates has become the task of parents of the graduating class.
   With costs hedging into the $15,000 range, financing such an event could present a problem for even the most seasoned fundraiser.
   Beginning in the fall, parents meet at the high school to hash out possibilities for entertainment, food and activities for what will become the biggest bash of the year.
   Through trial and error, these savvy parents have developed a strategy for raising enough funds to make the party a success with the help of the BPOE Elks Lodge in Prineville.
   The fundraising tactic that developed for the 2001 event proved to be one of the most successful campaign so far. The raffle of a brand new VW Bug netted organizers about $11,000, very nearly enough to cover the costs of the party.
   Following on the heels of last year's success, this year the group will be offering a shiny red 2002 PT Cruiser, purchased from Thomas Sales and Service for $16,995.
   Organizers hope to raise enough to cover the cost of the car, plus an additional $12,000 for the senior party. The goal is to sell half of the tickets by the end of January.
   A total of only 600 tickets will be sold at $50 each and are available for purchase at Prineville Athletic Club, Prineville Men's Wear or by calling Denise Smith at 447-3829.
   The Elks are conducting the raffle and will announce the contest winner during an April 27 drawing.
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