Dry Grad committee faces fundraising challenges in Powell River

Hopes high for 2021 graduation

No matter what, Brooks Dry Grad committee intends to honour the 2021 graduates in a significant way in spite of COVID-19.

That determined message comes from chair Jen Frost, whose son Jackson is among the approximately 145 grade 12 students.

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“Right now, we are operating with hope,” says Frost, who was born and raised in Powell River. “We’re hoping to repeat the very successful parade that took place last year and have the grads parade right to a prom.”

The committee, which has an executive of five and a wider membership of about 12, has reserved Dwight Hall for a prom. “The kids would love to have a party, of course,” she adds.

Frost is no stranger to helping to organize events. She was Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) chair at Edgehill Elementary School for 10 years and helped with minor hockey.

A private Facebook page has been set up to connect with parents and let them know when help is needed.

“Generally, all it takes is an ask for a specific requirement,” says Frost. “If people want to join, they can call the school for information.”

Aaron Reid, whose daughter Arianna is among the graduates, serves as the committee’s fundraising chair. They were able to pull together gift-wrapping at the mall during December and partnered with Powell River Forest Wardens to cut down and sell Christmas trees.

“They knew dry grad was having a tough year with fundraising, and they have been unable to run their program, so they offered to partner with us,” explains Reid.

The sale was very successful, selling 176 trees in one day.

“Some people dropped off a donation even if they weren’t getting a tree,” adds Reid.

Typically, the committee provides safe rides home from a variety of parties in November and December, none of which took place at the end of last year.

“That has provided good coin for Dry Grad in the past,” says Frost.

As a result of COVID-19, there are no school trips planned so the committee has been able to take on selling grocery cards, a no real contact fundraiser.

“We’re really counting on this one because so many fundraising opportunities are not available to us this year,” says Reid. “We’re going to continue selling them as long as we possibly can.”

A bottle drive is being considered in the early part of January and Frost encourages people who would like to donate before or after that to drop off containers at the bottle depot on Duncan Street where a Dry Grad 2021 account has been set up.

Frost says the 2020 class kept money for a reunion, when it can be held, and also provided some funds to this year’s grad class.

At this point, Frost says the committee does not know if it can organize a prom or gathering.

“Nobody knows what June will bring,” she adds.

Last year the parade was put together by the 2020 Dry Grad committee. Also, the school organized a presentation with each graduate going across the stage to receive a leaving certificate.

Normally, Hap Parker Arena at Powell River Recreation Complex is filled with members of the community who have gathered for decades to salute the graduating class. The presentation of graduates, the Grand March and special dances have been highlights.

“If we can’t do normal, we’ll make sure there will be something to make the grads feel as good as the parade did last year,” says Frost. “Powell River is just such a lovely, charming place that we call home. The whole community is so supportive it makes me feel happy.”

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