Long flowing gowns and suits with ties are not the usual attire for staff at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.
But a team of 13 teens were dressed to the nines (six of who were graduating) and were spotted frolicking through the grounds of the zoo after hours one evening last week in just such garb.
The Grade 12 students, who make up part of the zoo’s administration and marketing staff, were invited for a special staff prom party – zoo-style.
Among them was 17-year-old Willowbrook resident Lillian Weaver-Beck, a Grade 12 Langley Secondary student – who like many started working at the zoo at the end of May.
About a week ago, she and other coworkers who were graduating started talking about missing out on their prom because of COVID-19.
“We all had some kind of ceremony, but none of us had a prom,” she explained, noting some of those participating in last Tuesday’s prom (June 23) are from as far away as Chilliwack, but most are from around Langley.
Hearing of the teen’s woes, their supervisors went to work putting together a special little prom event, specifically for them.
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“It was so much fun,” Weaver-Beck said. “How many grads can say they had their prom at the zoo.”
Some other zoo staff made up celebratory signs, brought in pizza and pastries, and served up juice in flutes to add to the ambiance.
“It was really fun… We got to take pictures around the park, and we had food, and we got to hang out together,” Weaver-Beck said, noting that being all dressed up added a sense of glamour to the event.
“It was really fun to see everyone all dressed up, and like hair done, and makeup done, and nice clothes. We’ve never seen each other like that before,” she said, noting how they’re all normally clad in casual clothes and uniform T-shirts.
“I liked having prom with my coworkers better than I would have liked having it with my classmates,” Weaver-Beck speculated.
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“We all get along so well… so much better than I do with most of my classmates. It was way more fun than at school,” she said of devouring pizza and running around the front end of the park and visiting a number of the animals including the leemers and lions, tigers and ostriches, cheetahs and wallabys.
”The graduates here at GVZoo, and all over B.C., have not been able to celebrate this year due to these weird and uncertain times,” the zoo spokeperson posted to Instagram. “So we decided to throw our staff a social-distancing grad party at the zoo! The Greater Vancouver Zoo is on a mission to make our park a safe and fun escape into nature for our guests and our staff.”
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