They may still be a few months from graduating, but a group of Spectrum students are already preparing for their school’s dry grad in June.
Grade 12 students Justin Bao, Finley Chamberlain, Giuliana Crozier, Sapphire Dorward and Ryan Novatil are currently raising funds for Spectrum’s dry grad, which will see approximately 320 students celebrate their graduation at the Pearkes Recreation Centre. The five high school seniors want to ensure that they and their classmates have a safe, drug- and alcohol-free evening.
“The month of June has the highest alcohol-related incidents, so we want to make sure that everyone in the grad class will be safe,” said Dorward. “We’re putting a lot of money and time and effort towards ensuring that we’re going to have a very safe night that will be enjoyable.”
The group has been planning the celebration since September, with the help of more than 20 parents and many of their teachers. Since it is hosted by parents and volunteers rather than the school, the dry grad does not receive funding from Spectrum.
“In terms of budget, it’s a $15,000 to $20,000 event,” said Novatil. “A lot of that comes out of volunteering and the rest comes from applying for grants.”
In preparation for the June 20 event, the students met with Mayor Richard Atwell to discuss their grant-in-aid application for funding from the district and the importance of holding a safe celebration for Spectrum’s students.
“We asked for the maximum we could get from him,” said Novatil, noting they’re asking the district to contribute $5 per graduating student, which works out to about $1,600.
“He helped us out with how we should present ourselves and he said it would be a good idea to work towards coming up with a presentation for the budget meeting in March,” added Dorward.
Vice-principal Donna Thompson said the students have been working hard with the Spectrum Dry Grad Parent committee to secure funding and donations from various businesses, in addition to their application to the district.
“They presented themselves really well when we went to see the mayor,” said Thompson. “I was really proud to watch them up there with their mayor in their meeting.”
Following their graduation ceremony at the University of Victoria, students will be escorted on buses to Pearkes, with no stops on the way to ensure the event will be substance-free. The dry grad will run from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. and, for many students, it will be the last time they see their classmates for quite awhile.
“It’s very important because it’s the last event in high school, and with grads moving off in different directions, it’s our last time together,” said Bao. “We want it to be fun and safe for everybody, to have a good time and not have the night ruined by anything bad or dangerous.”
The committee is still looking for more Grade 11s to volunteer for the event. They are also looking for more community support, including monetary and prize donations from local businesses.
Anyone interested in contributing to the dry grad can contact committee co-chair Sue-Anne Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the school at 250-479-8271.