High school grads get liquor store support

Updated Saanich School District allows Claremont to collect funds for dry grad celebrations

Claremont secondary will cash in on a decade-long dry grad fundraiser for the first time this year.

The Liquor Distribution Branch recently launched its annual Support Dry Grad Campaign fundraiser, where B.C. Liquor Store customers can donate money at the till to support local dry grad festivities. Until November, the school board did not accept the funds because of a long-standing policy that the district wouldn’t accept money from businesses that sell tobacco or alcohol.

Claremont parent Cindy Nairn pushed for the policy change and is ecstatic to chair the first Claremont All-Night Dry Grad Committee that will see funding from the campaign.

“I can’t believe after all these years. It’s been silly we haven’t been able to do it in the past. This is an opportunity for us to get something from the community,” said Nairn, in her sixth year working Claremont dry grad. “We are having trouble getting funds from other sources we’ve had in the past. So I hope the people of Saanich will support us.”

Claremont, along with Parkland and Stelly’s secondary schools, is among the more than 250 high schools in 56 school districts participating. Donations collected at local stores go to local school districts.

“I believe we’ve been doing it since it was initiated,” said Pat Duncan, associate superintendent with the Greater Victoria School District. All eight high schools in SD61 – including Saanich’s Spectrum, Reynolds, Mount Douglas and Lambrick Park – share in the funds.

“Teaching students that to celebrate does not require alcohol is important in itself,” Duncan said.

B.C. Liquor Store customers can donate at the cash register to the Support Dry Grad Campaign until March 31.

Sidney, Trafalgar Square and Broadmead liquor stores fund the Saanich School District. Funds will be divvied on a per-grad basis between Claremont, Stelly’s and Parkland.

Last year, B.C. Liquor Stores collected more than $459,000 to help celebrate graduation.

“We know they’ve been safe for a night and made some memories,” Nairn said.