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Congrats and concerns for our graduates

One is bound for Tulane University in New Orleans.

Another, the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Another, Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., atop Lake Winnebago, the best walleye fishing in America.

They were just some of Thursday night’s Golden Herald nominees about to embark on a great adventure in their young lives.

I was happy for them.

Envious even.

Concerned, too.

For them and their fellow high school seniors around our county.

It’s party season.

Proms followed by graduation in two weeks, a time of celebration that can turn into tragedy.

Statistics have shown a spike in alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving teenagers during the last few weeks of the school year.

A 2007 National Highway Traffic Safety Adminisration report showed that 714 youths younger than 21 died in alcohol-related traffic fatalities — during prom and graduation season.

Then there is disturbing data from the American Medical Association that aggravates the situation.

n A 2005 AMA poll indicated 1 of every 10 parents considered it OK if teens attended prom or graduation parties where alcohol is present so long as a parent is on the premises, too.

n Twice as many teens said they’ve attended a graduation party with drinking and parents present.

n Fifteen percent said the alcohol was supplied by the parents hosting the party.

Worse, some parents even served the alcohol.

Whoa.

A good friend of mine went ballistic after he found out his daughter had been to one such graduation party last year hosted by adults.

Not only was it in my neighborhood, but there was a cover charge, too.

Incredible.

I’m sure I’ll be dropping in on some upcoming graduation parties.

Bring a gift, a card.

I will also bear only the best of wishes.

It’s a wonderful time for our high school seniors.

The future beckons.

College awaits.

Summer is nigh.

I just want them to get there, make it through party season without harm.

Be smart.

Be safe.

Be cool.

Mannix About Manatee, by local columnist Vin Mannix,is about people and issues in Manatee County. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification.

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