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McKinney’s Project Graduation 2023—Tens of Thousands in Cash and Prizes, Fun Beyond Measure

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Monday, July 31, 2023

McKinney, Texas – While parents, students and educators are looking ahead to the quickly approaching 2023–2024 school year, we’d like to take a moment to look back at an event that sometimes sneaks by if you aren’t the parent of a graduating senior—McKinney’s Project Graduation (MPG).

The annual graduation night party took place at McKinney ISD Stadium on Friday, May 26, following the McKinney Boyd, McKinney High School and McKinney North graduation ceremonies. The event was spearheaded by volunteer organizer Lara Hawkins and more than 200 volunteers, along with 20 McKinney Police Department School Resource Officers (SROs).

Most importantly, a lot of McKinney ISD graduating seniors were there. “According to our calculations,” said Hawkins, “we had 962 seniors attend, which means 50 percent of the graduating classes celebrated with us! They brought along 140 guests, for a total of 1,102 attendance of this year’s event.”

The 2023 iteration of McKinney’s Project Graduation lived up to its mission to provide a safe, fun, all night celebration for McKinney ISD graduating seniors. As always, there were games, rides, music, food and tens of thousands of dollars worth of cash and prize giveaways.

Throughout the night, MPG gave out a total of $19,800 in cash raffle drawings, and the bingo tables handed out more than $1,000 in gift cards. It didn’t stop there. MPG distributed nearly $12,000 worth of wireless chargers, televisions, e-bikes and a variety of other prizes. They awarded a total of $1,000 to four students whose parents or family members volunteered more than four hours or donated more than $100 worth of cash or prizes.

male student holding large 5000 check

The Project Graduation Grand Prize winner received a check for $5,000 donated by El Dorado Chevrolet in McKinney! (Photo courtesy of McKinney’s Project Graduation)

The Project Graduation Grand Prize runner-up winner received a check for $2,000 donated by El Dorado Chevrolet in McKinney! (Photo courtesy of McKinney’s Project Graduation)

female student holding large prize check

The Project Graduation Grand Prize third place winner received a check for $1,000 donated by El Dorado Chevrolet in McKinney! (Photo courtesy of McKinney’s Project Graduation)

The grand prize, sponsored by Jonathon Clay and El Dorado Chevrolet of McKinney, totaled $8,000, with one graduate receiving $5,000, another $2,000 and a third graduate receiving $1,000 of the prize money.

Free food and water were provided throughout the event, and as a result of feedback from previous participants, MPG introduced a cereal bar, which was a hit among the attendees—and will return for the 2024 Project Graduation celebration.

Hawkins was grateful for all of those who helped make MPG 2023 a success. “The night would not have run so smoothly,” she said, “without our terrific team, volunteers, Officer Ritchie and all the SROs, Deb Harris, Randy Bilyeu, and Mike Bruck. Each of them truly played a huge contributing factor throughout the entire night, and we can’t thank everyone enough.”

And, they are already making plans for McKinney’s Project Graduation 2024! You can keep up with everything they’re planning by visiting or by visiting their website at

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If you need additional assistance with the content on this page, please contact MISD Communications Department team member Shane Mauldin by phone at 469-302-4007 or by email here .

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