Graduation in Powell River is a community affair. From granting scholarships to students on the night of Cap n’ Gown, to cheering on graduates at the Grand March, to donating to the Dry Grad after-party, the community plays an important role in making graduation a weekend to remember.
Students, parents, teachers and community members have been hard at work to ensure that this year’s graduation celebrations are a success. Brooks Secondary School teachers and administrative staff have organized the formal Cap n’ Gown ceremony in which the students receive their diploma and scholarships, while students formed a Grad Committee to plan the Presentation of the Class. As a tradition in Powell River, the Grand March, following the speeches at the Presentation of the Class, is the students’ chance for their 15 seconds of fame. After the Grand March, students will have the opportunity to dance with their walking partner and parents. Immediately following the dances is the Dry Grad after-party that continues to the early hours of the morning.
All of the graduation ceremonies will take place at Hap Parker Arena, with the Cap n’ Gown ceremony being the first at 6:30 pm on Friday, June 7. On Saturday, June 8, graduates will dress up for the Presentation of the Class. The doors open at 6 pm with speeches and entertainment beginning at 8 pm. The Grand March will follow at around 9:30 pm.
Students, parents and teachers will give speeches. Clayton Hill will give the student to teacher speech with teacher Jerry Reghelin giving the response. Bobbi-Lynn Deans will speak for the students toward the parents with Dry Grad president and parent Yvonne Russell responding. Finally, Megan Kazakoff will deliver the valedictorian address.
In addition to the speeches, graduating students will provide live music entertainment. Any graduate who wished to contribute music suggestions did so to make up a playlist to accompany the Grand March and the dances that immediately follow.
Appropriate for the celebrations of the weekend, students chose a red-carpet movie premiere theme. “We’ll have stars hanging from the ceiling,” said Hanna Madden, the student in charge of decorating. “Our colours are gold, silver and black, so it’s going to be really classy.” There will also be a backdrop with the Brooks’ logo in front of which the students can have photos taken.
Students are getting excited for the upcoming celebrations. When asked what they most look forward to, Brooks Grad Committee members Madden and Johanna Noseworthy agreed. For Johanna, “it’s getting all dressed up and having everyone together.”
The girls also agree on how the tradition of graduation in Powell River is such a community affair. “It’s really cool to have everyone there to support us,” said Johanna.
“Everyone put so much time and effort into making it a good night for us,” agreed Madden.
The community does more than just fill the arena for the Grand March, according to Russell. “Whether it be auction prizes or money…thank you to the community.” The donations made by the community of Powell River have ensured that the Dry Grad party will be a night to remember for the students.
Russell sees the importance of providing this opportunity for the graduates. “I think it’s important,” she said, “giving them a place to go that is drug and alcohol free as well as being the last time they are all together in a school setting.”
The Dry Grad celebration will include various forms of entertainment, as chosen by the students through a survey. The survey also allowed students to choose a beach survivor theme from a number of options. Parents have taken care of the entertainment and decoration for the night so as to keep the details of Dry Grad a surprise for the grads.
In order to finance this celebration, parents and students have put in hours for a variety of fundraisers. In addition to the traditional Grad Gift Wrap fundraiser at Christmas, grads and their parents have hosted Burger and Beer nights, silent auctions, Safe Rides and sales including Tupperware, Epicure spice, cookie dough, meat and many more.
The fundraisers went well, thanks to the help of parents and students. “We’ve just called them to do fundraising,” said Russell. “We’ve raised what we need to cover our expenses.”
The graduates of 2013 have much to look forward to this weekend. With the help of parents, teachers and the community of Powell River, the celebrations are bound to be a success.