The graduates of George Elliot Secondary School will be going to The Grand hotel in Kelowna for their dinner dance for the second year in a row and a group of local businesses would like to see the event brought back to Lake Country.
GESS grads celebrate their achievements on several nights, with the dinner/dance (at The Grand), the Cap and Gown ceremony where the Dogwoods are handed out and a dry grad.
The primary reasons for moving the dinner/dance to The Grand is the diminishing number of volunteers to host the event at GESS, as well as capacity issues. A desire for a location that is a little more posh to commemorate the occasion has also been mentioned.
Marvin Farkas, president of the Lake Country Chamber of Commerce and a Grad 2013 parent says the community can meet the main requirements to bring the grad dinner/dance back to GESS. “Certainly there is the professional and service capacity to host the event in Lake Country.”
Derek Lea, principal of GESS, says he is completely open to looking at bringing the dinner/dance back to GESS, especially if the event can deliver a great experience for the grads. “There is a desire to create a send-off for the kids that they will enjoy. I think there is some historical pressure to always do better, but I don’t think it has gotten excessive.”
In advancing the idea to bring the dinner/dance back to GESS, Farkas worked with Shelli Clipperton of Nor-Val Rentals, Barb Boschert, owner of Sterling Events and Mario from the management team at Aspen Grove Golf Course. The team prepared a quote for a full sit down menu and event plan at two different price points—either $16.95 or $26.95 per plate. Both options come in below stated budget costs for the event. The grads would enjoy their dinner options which could include prime rib.
Farkas is hopeful the school will see the possibilities of a great event at GESS. “The food we can have created and served in Lake Country is far superior to the general offering at The Grand.”
Capacity remains an issue. Lea says the event has gone overcapacity in recent years, but stated attendance numbers given to organizers showed no appreciable fluctuation in historic numbers when the event was held at GESS.
“So long as we can accommodate numbers we can look at viable solutions,” he said.
Deb Butler, in her capacity as a parent of a 2013 grad student at GESS, feels there is plenty of space to host a reasonable event closer to home. “Numbers are realistically not an issue; we have former seating plans for 550 people.”
GESS tries to allow students three tickets each to the dinner/dance and for students who have more parents or close relatives who want to attend, every effort is made to accommodate them.
Lea has committed to a Grad 2012 parent meeting to happen in April. Farkas is eagerly waiting to find out when that will happen.
The timeline for booking the event at The Grand is generally confirmed in May of the year prior to each event. Should a viable solution be found the students will need to be consulted about their wishes over a location for their grad dinner/dance in 2013.