Royal Bay secondary’s first solo dry grad turned out to be a night to remember, thanks to the efforts of a group of parents who had no idea what they were getting themselves into.
Because the school’s administration wanted to do the prom at the Empress Hotel on June 9, logistics didn’t allow for a dry grad celebration that day, said parent Kim Mayoh, who “spearheaded” the prom dry grad carnival held on May 13.
“Some parents got talking and we decided to form a dry grad committee to organize a fun event for the students ahead of the official graduation ceremony at Uvic on June 4,” she said, adding those traditionally have taken place right after the prom. “We really had no idea what it would cost or how we would get it done.”
First, the parent volunteers presented the student grad committee with their concept for a carnival theme and holding a secure, alcohol-free event at the school in advance of prom. Once the students approved, the parents got busy coming up with a budget based loosely on the previous year’s joint event with Belmont.
“We kind of winged it,” Mayoh said with a laugh. “We had a great group of ladies determined to get it done. The total cost was $16,000 and we managed to break even, more or less, thanks to ticket sales and donations.”
The City of Colwood made a donation and local businesses stepped up with funding and $7,000 worth of prizes. The committee also received $1,000 from the school’s Parent Advisory Committee and close to $900 from the BC Liquor Distribution Branch, which contributes to dry grad ceremonies throughout the province.
Royal Bay’s leadership group helped out as well, earmarking profits from two of the school’s pizza days for the cause. Mayoh’s husband and son got involved by building most of the carnival games, which Mayoh painted. “The woodworking class pitched in by making three games that were more intricate,” she added.
The carnival was staged on the main floor of the school, which made for a great open venue, and an outdoor fire pit area allowed students to get some fresh air. The highlight of the night, Mayoh said, was a hypnotist. Other activities included a magician, a henna painter, a psychic, casino, inflatables, a photo booth and concession.
“We got fabulous feedback,” she noted. “We also did a survey with the grad council that was very positive.”
Mayoh thanked the community for its support, sponsors and businesses that contributed, and the nearly 100 volunteers – especially the “fabulous group of ladies” – who worked hard to give the students a night they won’t forget.
“I have a daughter graduating this year and wanted to make it special,” she said. “With what we learned this time, next year should be a breeze.”