Organizing a banquet for hundreds of guests is no small task but it’s something that is done every year at George Elliot Secondary for the graduating class. Last year, for the first time in the school’s history, the event was taken out of Lake Country and moved to the Delta Grand Hotel in Kelowna.
At the time parents voiced dissatisfaction with the administrations decision to move the event and the PAC requested that they be consulted before a decision was made on where the event would be hosted this year.
PAC member Deb Butler was disappointed this year to find the Grad Banquet marked in the May calendar of this years school agenda.
“I know we have a weakening volunteer component in Lake Country but we’ve been doing Grad here for 30 years and there’s no reason we can’t continue. If we’re going to spend the money anyways we might as well spend it in our own community,” says Butler.
Butler, supported by parents with similar attitudes, raised the point at a grad meeting for parents last week.
Anna Hunt-Binkley, the school district trustee that represents GESS agrees with Butler.
“The celebration takes a huge effort from lots of people. This community has been very supportive of George Elliot and its students and it’s important that grad remain a local event.
Chad Wardman, a teacher at GESS who also serves as the grad coordinator says that last year he did ask for input on how to keep this year’s celebration in Lake Country. A problem arose however when nobody could suggest an indoor Lake Country venue with the seating capacity required for the grad banquet (approximately 600 seats).
Further complicating the matter was the issue of reserving a venue while one was still available. The Delta Grand had just three dates open for bookings in May 2012 at the end of the last school year. With several schools still needing to book a space, Wardman decided it would be better to book at the Delta Grand than to face the possibility of not having a grad banquet at all.
Now the Delta Grand holds a $5,000 deposit on the grad reservation which could make getting out of the commitment even more difficult. One option currently being explored is for GESS to give Kelowna Secondary School its date as KSS has not yet confirmed one for itself.
If that were to happen it may still be possible to see grad return to Lake Country this year.
“This is Lake Country,” says Butler, “it’s never too late.”