Glamourous grad girls in their gowns, from left, include: Lenora Shelling, Hannah Horsman, Alexis Belton, Jordynn Jany, Beth Pender, Jamie Steel, Peri Pickel, Isabelle Kendall, Georgia Miller, Andrea Brooks and Mariann Seward. (Photo by Masika Woods)

Grads’ gratification goes beyond words for prom

Thankful Chemainus Secondary class enjoys a celebratory evening

How do the Chemainus Secondary School 2020 graduates spell relief? G-r-a-d-i-f-i-c-a-t-i-o-n.

The grads were truly filled with gratification (or gradification, if you will) after their much-anticipated prom finally went ahead Saturday at Masika Woods’ Oak & Vine Estate in Duncan.

“It went off amazingly,” said Carrie Kendall, Parent Advisory Council secretary and Grad Committee co-chair with her husband Art. “Masika was fantastic. The kids needed this. They needed to blow off some steam.”

The event had been a long time coming due to COVID-19 and, of course, there was the possibility it wouldn’t be held at all. A prom parade along the downtown streets of Chemainus usually precedes the grads’ big night, but that couldn’t happen this year.

After some restrictions for the pandemic were relaxed recently for gatherings of up to 50 people, it allowed the grad ceremony at the school to proceed and then prom planning also kicked into high gear.

Related: Observations from a grateful grad class

Kendall had been working on different scenarios for quite a while before definite plans could finally be made for the grads.

“We couldn’t figure out the logistics of it,” she said of a prom parade.

“The prom we could control. With the parade, we couldn’t put our names on it.”

The grads certainly weren’t complaining that they got their chance to dress up in all their finery and enjoy a great evening of camaraderie within their class, which was the perfect size to fit the guidelines without any outside guests allowed.

“I just wanted to get the kids to the prom,” said Kendall.

“This time was a bit different in terms of safety. We had to know who was driving and how they were getting home – mostly parents dropped off and picked up.”

Kendall received a special presentation from the grads for all her hard work in making it happen.

“They were so grateful,” she said. “Amazing feedback. I’m just so appreciative they were able to have it and they were so grateful.”

The kids had some money left over in the kitty from all their fundraising for what would normally have also been dry grad activities and, rather than buy more prizes, decided to make two $500 donations each to Cowichan Valley Youth Services and Nourish Cowichan.

“I was really proud of these kids using some of their funds raised to give back instead of just buying more prizes or gift cards, especially to these two amazing organizations who directly impact our little community so much,” praised Kendall.

CoronavirusGraduation 2020

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From left: Levi Hellemond, Hannah Horsman, Ryan McMahon, Georgia Miller, Mark Harris, Peri Pickel, Kyle Brown, Jamie Steel. (Photo by Masika Woods)

Vineyard visit is enjoyed by, from left: Wren Sjolie, Isabelle Kendall and Jamie Steel. More photos of the grads at (Photo by Masika Woods)

Levi Hellemond and Kyle Brown emerge from a cool ride in a 1967 Mustang lovingly restored by Kyle’s dad. (Photo by Masika Woods)

Oak & Vine Estate provides the backdrop for Chemainus Secondary grads, from left: Ryan McMahon, Georgia Miller, Jamie Steel, Kyle Brown. (Photo by Masika Woods)

A cheque for $500 is presented on behalf of the Chemainus Secondary School 2020 grad class by Carmen Hardy to Cowichan Valley Youth Services, represented by Michelle Bell, left, and Sophia Palmer, right. (Photo by Pamela Dobbs)

A cheque for $500 is presented by Carmen Hardy on behalf of the Chemainus Secondary School 2020 grads to Fatima da Silva of Nourish Cowichan. (Photo by Pamela Dobbs)

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