Hargrave Project Graduation benefits from Fireworks sales

For more than a decade, project graduation parents, seniors, and volunteers have been managing the Top Dog Fireworks Warehouse in Atascocita at 4725 Atascocita Road as a fundraiser. Each year, students volunteer to work at the warehouse where they gain business acumen and split the profits with Top Dog for running the store. It’s been a profitable adventure and a fun time for parents and students.

“We raise more than $50,000-plus each year and it’s our biggest fundraiser for Hargrave HS project graduation,” said April Dagley, who is on the fireworks committee and the ticket coordinator for PG.

The location is just a hop, skip, and a jump over the bridge.

“It’s important to know that when you come down Atascocita Road from Huffman, there’s a Black Cat firework stand first, so you have to go past that to the warehouse on the right with a snow cone stand in front,” she said.

“This is how we raise money for our project graduation every year. The kids come and work a shift and they earn tickets. They in turn use those tickets to win prizes at Project Graduation, it pays for the food, entertainment, and much more,” she said. It’s free for seniors to attend.

Throughout the year, students earn tickets with various projects, but none bigger than working a shift at Top Dog.

“With that money we’re able to purchase computers, gift bags, kayaks, to things they might need for their dorm at college,” she said. “If you can imagine anything an 18- year-old might like, we’ll have there for them to play their tickets and win those prizes,” she said.

Dagley also pointed out that more importantly, it’s a safe place for seniors on a celebratory night.

“They get to spend the night with their classmates having food, fun, and throughout the night we’re drawing for prizes,” she said.

They also have drawings for cash throughout the night for all the students whether they can work or not so that they can participate and win prizes as well.

“You read about and hear stories of seniors who unfortunately make bad decisions and the consequences can be terrible. We want them to stay safe and have a good time so that’s why we have this,” she emphasized. “It’s possibly their last chance to be with their fellow students one more time before they head on out into the real world.”

From pizza to Chick- Fil-A, to cornhole boards, and many more games, students are occupied with their friends and fun games.

“We are looking into giving away a car this year,” she said. “It’s not a done deal just yet, but if we raise enough money, we would like to offer that as our top prize for a lucky senior,” Dagley said.

Volunteers hope to reach a record amount this year, not only for the car, but for the growing number of graduates and attendees to the project graduation festivities.

“This will be our biggest class with over 300 students,” Dagley said, “and last year, the class was smaller, but they had the biggest participation at PG than they’ve ever had. We’d like to beat that number.”

One of the positives for buying from Top Dog Warehouse is a portion goes to the students raising money.

Dagley also pointed out that all the products at Top Dog can be scanned and a video pops up that demonstrates what the product will look like when it’s fired.

She also said that it’s good for community service hours for the students heading off to college or into the real world and a resume builder.

“They get business experience on how to run a store, stock the shelves, run the cash register, keep the warehouse clean, take out the trash, and so much more. It’s definitely a good life experience for them,” she said.

The warehouse opened for business on Monday at 10 a.m. and hours extend to 10p.m. Monday through Thursday. On the weekends it will be from 10 a.m. to midnight. On July 3rd, they are open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. and then on July 4th from 9 a.m. to midnight. All sales end at midnight on July 4.

This week, Dagley said they’re offering 25 percent off on everything in the store for the early birds who come in and support them.

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