With a good start to their fundraising goal, Bashaw School’s class of 2022’s graduation celebration is sure to be one to remember.
The committee has already raised $8,500 for grad 2022, before counting funds raised from their recent bottle drive, according to committee vice president Melissa Johnson.
The committee held a door-to-door bottle drive on Jan. 8, collecting enough bottles to fill the entire back room of the Bashaw Bottle Depot.
Johnson said it went very well and they received a lot of support from folks in town and the country.
If you missed their in-person bottle drive, don’t worry — you can tag your bottles for the grad committee at the depot until May 1, 2022.
In its second year, the bottle drive has proven to be a good source of funds for the grad committee.
The main fundraisers for the grad committee have historically been the spring highway clean up and volunteering at the Big Valley Jamboree. They also do a local fundraiser, usually with Bashaw Meats.
The highway clean up and the Big Valley Jamboree have been the main (and largest contributors) to their grad funds. Since Big Valley has not been operational the last couple of years, the bottle drive became an idea to try to replace it.
This year, the fundraiser with Bashaw Meats brought in over $2,000 for the grad committee.
According to Johnson, the committee aims to raise at least $8,000 for grad each year, although $10,000 is better.
“The graduates are extremely grateful for all the support in these fundraisers that made them so successful,” said Candace Hodder, assistant principal and grad advisor for the grad class. “The community continues to be an incredible support for us.”
Each year, the practise has been that the grad committee leaves an amount in the fund for the next class, so they aren’t starting entirely from scratch.
Putting on a graduation celebration is an expensive affair, with the committee raising the funds to pay for everything from a D.J. for their dance, to decorations, the venue rental fee, the catered dinner and any electronic components needed for their slideshow tribute to the grads.
They also pay to rent tables and chairs. This year, the committee is planning to purchase picture frames for a ‘memory lane,’ entering the school, where the grad ceremony is set to be held.
They plan to display two photos of each grad: their baby photo and grad photo.
The colour scheme for this year will be navy blue and silver and set around a theme of a starry night.
The committee hopes to hold the grad ceremony in the Bashaw School gymnasium — if current COVID-19 restrictions allow — and the dinner and dance at the Bashaw Community Centre.
Last year, to allow for more physical distancing, the grad was held at the Bashaw Ag Grounds.
“I personally think it’s a great experience because you get to learn all kinds of things,” said Johnson, adding she’s been learning a lot about handling finances, organizing and managing an event and working with her peers.
She said raising the funds to hold the event themselves makes their 12 years of schooling “all worth it.”
“A lot of work is put in over a year before your actual grad. Seeing the finished project makes the night 10 times better,” she said.
This year, there are 16 Grade 12 students set to walk the stage this spring.
“Our graduates this year continue to demonstrate an incredible amount of resilience and determination in planning for their Grade 12 graduation,” said Hodder.
“They continue to focus on the celebration and how to make it everything they dream of.
“Their commitment to planning out the details, organizing the how, and then putting the work in to try to make things happen is admirable,” she said.
“Regardless of any barriers COVID may try to impose, this group will find a way to work around it and still create an incredible celebration for this important milestone they have worked so hard to achieve.”
Bashaw School’s 2022 graduation ceremony and celebration is set for May 28.
“As a school we are incredibly proud of what they have done and can’t wait to see them have their shining moment, one they are so richly deserving of,” said Hodder.