Belmont secondary students volunteer their time planting pansies at the sign at City Centre Park. With guidance from Langford Parks and Recreation

Showing their grad-itude

Annual exchange trades Belmont students’ labour for dry grad funds

Belmont students are digging themselves a hole.

On their hands and knees, about 20 Grade 11 and 12 students rake, dig and laugh along the Langford Parkway, planting yellow pansies into the soil surrounding a large City Centre Park sign.

Langford’s park planner Jane Waters said the volunteerism is a partnership with the school that sees the city donate $10,000 to Belmont’s annual dry grad prom.

“I’m always thrilled when they come out. It’s one of my favourite parts of my job,” she said. “I have a high school daughter myself. I think volunteerism is a really good way of kids for get beyond thinking about just their world, and that it’s a great thing to give back to their community.”

Past collaborations have included building a rain garden at Glen Lake beach and planting a palm tree at the Leigh Road interchange.

“Mayor and council are just so thrilled that they come out, and with planting they are learning to be stewards of the land and help the city look better in their beautification projects,” Waters said. “Funding is really tight in the school districts and everywhere in all levels of government, but you know … the students have completed 12 years and the city likes to support that kind of thing in the youth of Langford.”

Belmont principal Ray Miller said it is a privilege to be able to give back to the community in a small way. He said the City’s generous annual donation is not lost on the students who get their hands dirty.

“This is the very least we can do in giving back,” he said. “Without it I don’t think we can have Safe Grad. We are here today as a small token of our appreciation and gratitude for the City of Langford’s generous donation every year.”

Much of the money will go towards activities and elements that keep the graduating students at Eagle Ridge Community Centre late into the night, away from activities that have proven dangerous or unhealthy in the past, Miller said.

“It’s culture shifting. I work intimately with 50 parents who donate hundreds of hours of time. The community donates and contributes lots of resources to change the culture of prom. It’s the expected norm that we pull together and keep our kids safe.”

Grade 11 student Caleigh Dupuis is not graduating this year, but said she sees the importance of dry grad. She was on hand planting to support the class of 2015 and looks forward to her chance next year.

“It’s a big thing and everyone supports it and loves it,” she said. “It’s amazing what the City of Langford does for us and how they donate such an amazing amount of money to help with keeping us safe.

“It shows that we are all connected and it’s like we are a big family.”

Just Posted

‘More animals could have a chance:’ Victoria Humane Society in desperate need of a home

Animal rescue currently has 163 animals in foster and volunteer homes

Free-B Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

Head to Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park to see some family favourites on the big screen

Central Saanich accused of not following Climate Emergency declaration with urgent action

Motion to research climate response options and costs rejected then rescheduled in tense meeting

Join North Saanich invasives removal and experience three key benefits

Friends of North Saanich Parks says July 27 clear-up will be rewarding as well as green

Colwood field lacrosse camp aims to get more kids involved

Victoria Field Youth Lacrosse hopes to inspire future athletes

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read