Like other graduates across the Langley School District grad celebrations look different this year as a result of pandemic related health restrictions, but thanks to the efforts of R.E. Mountain Secondary parents 350 graduates will be receiving a sweet surprise to mark the occasion.
A select group of R.E. Mountain parents came together in January to form the Dry Grad Committee with the hope of organizing a special recognition for Grade 12 students at the school.
During the past five months the committee has raised more than $30,000.
“We worked incredibly hard and hoped until a few weeks ago we might be able to create a celebration. Unfortunately, public health restrictions have made that impossible,” said Melissa Ferriss, president of the committee.
Parents said it was following provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s May 25 announcement, where the province introduced the BC Restart Plan, they learned a celebration would not be possible and the decision to create a gift for each graduate was finalized.
“Nonetheless, we remained fully committed to helping our grads celebrate somehow,” Feriss added.
Parents found the response to their fundraising campaign from the community overwhelming positive.
Richard McCamley, a R.E. Mountain parent and vice-president of New West Gypsum Recycling was quick to support the parents’ efforts with a $5,000 donation.
“These students have experienced many losses this year. There haven’t been events or celebrations that would have typically taken place,” McCamley said.
“That, in addition to all the other disruptions to their learning, has made things exceptionally difficult. We wanted to support them in any way we could.”
Save-On-Foods also donated $5,000; Clear Convenience Corporation donated $2,000; EPR Maple Ridge Langley, Chartered Professional Accountants donated $1,000.
Other gift sponsors include Tim Horton’s, McDonald’s, Panago, Oxygen Yoga Langley, Popeye’s Supplements, A&W, and Fraser Valley Continuing Education.
Additional supporters are Real Canadian Superstore, Shergill Notary Public, Total Fitness Walnut Grove, Willoughby Liquor Store, Costco Langley, Sassy Nails, Safeway Willowbrook, Hakam’s Your Independent Grocer, Daisy Pink Boutique, Langley Advance Times and YourOh! Deli.
“Not only did our sponsors help make this happen, but so did the entire community of Langley,” said Ferriss. “Every person who purchased chocolates, gift cards, or made some other donation has been instrumental to the success of our efforts. On behalf of all the parents and graduates, we extend our deepest appreciation.”
The parents didn’t want to yet disclose the contents of the gift bags for risk of spoiling the surprise for the 350 graduates who will recieve their gift during Friday’s commencement ceremony.