May 29, 2020
To the parents of the 2020 Grads,
This grad year started strong with an eager team of parents wanting to make this grad year the very best. We had monthly meetings with great attendance and enthusiasm on how to fundraise and make sure the grads had a great day. Our first fundraiser was a bottle drive on February 8, 2020. We had an eager crew out for a long sticky day and through those efforts they raised $3557.10. Way to go grads! Our second fundraiser was in March with “Raise the Funds” frozen food, thanks to Mrs. Ickert for getting that started, we then raised another $600.00. A generous donation of $800.00 was also given from Mrs. Carniel and her employer The Augustine Group. This was where we ended at Spring Break, a second bottle drive was planned for April but unfortunately could not be done.
As a Grad committee we had $5000.00 sitting in an account ready to be spent on the prizes, food etc for dry Grad. As the Pandemic became real and Grad was going to look different, conversations with our teachers, Admin, parents and students began. The ideas of field ceremonies, summer celebrations and even a delay to 2021 were options that were entertained and discussed by the Grad Committee, WSS Administration and staff. With the news changing weekly and time ticking it became very clear that if we waited we wouldn’t be celebrating the 2020 Grads in the year they graduate. Once it became clear that the options were limited, an idea was that all grads would receive a gift to acknowledge them. This gift broke down to a $35.00 value to be given to every Grad. As the student Zoom meetings happened, it allowed our grads to discuss how they saw the money being used. It was here that a graduating student put forth the idea to donate the $5000.00 to a local charity.
This idea was an exciting one that showed how creative and giving our Westview students are. A letter was written to the grads to consider the options of receiving an individual grad gift or a donation to a local charity. This was sent to all Grade 12 students through a google classroom platform. A vote was then sent two days later on what one of the two was going to be followed through on. This was done on a democratic majority. A smaller than hoped number of students voted but what did come back was overwhelming yes to the donation. In the month of June a cheque for $5000.00 will be presented to the Maple Ridge Food bank.
The purpose of this letter is to help our grads and families understand the process behind the decisions that have been made during which has undoubtedly been a disappointing couple of months. We as Grad parents should be very proud of the resiliency and strength of our grads and although there have been a great many disappointments in the past few months, our grads will always be remembered. Not only for the students who did not receive a traditional grad but for the generous and thoughtful act of giving to those who also found themselves in hard times. The grads will be honoured at Westview with a plaque above their grad photo that hangs in the hall for all to see. This will serve as a tribute to the Grads of 2020 and acknowledge what they gave up, but more importantly to honour what they gave.
Michelle Ferguson (Grad Chair)