Dry Grad funds divided per student

Gold Trail School District asks BC Liquor Stores for a lump sum to divide evenly among the district's Dry Grad ceremonies.

“For the past 12 years, BC Liquor Stores customers and employees have raised funds to encourage high school students across British Columbia to celebrate grad in a safe, responsible manner,” said Minister Rich Coleman as he launched this year’s Support Dry Grad fundraising campaign. “One hundred per cent of all donated Support Dry Grad funds go back to local communities.”

The money collected has been turned over to the local high schools for their Dry Grad celebrations. However, Lytton no longer has a BC Liquor Store,  prompting the Gold Trail Board of Education to decide at it’s Jan. 17 board meeting to take the money raised by the stores in Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton and Lillooet and distribute them to the high schools, including Lytton, based on the number of students taking part in the Dry Grad.

Cache Creek has a liquor store but no high school. Donations are given to Ashcroft, which also has a liquor store.

“I’m just kind of amazed,” said trustee Mavourneen Varcoe-Ryan. “I thought it would be a no brainer that of course it would be split four ways.”

Trustee Nancy Rempel wondered if the stores could post signs notifying patrons that donations would be spread among the district rather than going straight to the local school.

Superintendent Teresa Downs replied that it was the BC Liquor Branch’s program, and all they could do was request the notices.

BC Liquor Store donationss supplement the fundraising done by the Grad classes. Lytton’s Dry Grad did not receive any BC Liquor Store funds last year because donations went to the local Dry Grad planning committees.

From Feb. 25 until March 31, BC Liquor Stores customers can donate $1 or more to Support Dry Grad celebrations. The money collected is used by local high school Dry Grad planning committees to plan alcohol-free high school graduation events and activities such as boat cruises, ski trips and dances.

This year, 55 school districts are participating in the campaign. The contributions by liquor store customers top up funds raised by parents, students and teachers who work all year to raise funds for dry graduation activities. Last year, BC Liquor Stores customers throughout the province donated a total of $512,604 in support of Dry Grad events.