Students of Aldergrove Community Secondary School washed cars and participated in multiple fundraisers to raise money for their grad celebrations. The fundraisers were led by a committee of parents putting together a dry grad event for the graduating class of 2022. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Students of Aldergrove Community Secondary School washed cars and participated in multiple fundraisers to raise money for their grad celebrations. The fundraisers were led by a committee of parents putting together a dry grad event for the graduating class of 2022. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Aldergrove students celebrate graduation, thanks to parents

First COVID and then floods made a dry grad event seem impossible

From collecting bottles and washing cars to selling merchandise – two moms from Aldergrove are trying their hands on everything – all to give the graduating class of Aldergrove Community Secondary School (ACSS) their dream grad celebrations.

Since December last year, Julie Pool and Becky Adams have been leading a committee of parents to put together a dry grad event for the Grade 12 students.

The journey for the duo has not been easy at all.

When the community began to emerge out of COVID last fall, the duo was hopeful about arranging a grad event for the students for summer 2022. While they eagerly waited for COVID restrictions to get lifted, something unexpected happened.

A renowned family attraction and the go-to spot for the graduating classes of ACSS to spend their special day was wrecked by floodwaters in November last year.

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Castle Fun Park in Abbotsford was closed due to high water levels, and nearly the entire facility was underwater at several points during the flooding. Although the parents knew that the facility would not be able to host them due to the damage, it wasn’t until February that they received confirmation.

“We all felt defeated, as Castle Fun Park is located next to the prom venue, so now we were faced with bussing costs that we had not budgeted for,” said Pool.

“By February, the kids didn’t even know what was going to happen,” Adams added. “They wanted a grad event, but nothing was planned.”

With no confirmed location and uncertainty still swirling around COVID, students and parents were unsure how an event could be put together. There was even a moment when everybody was about to give up.

At the end of February, the committee had disbanded, and it was decided not to proceed with the grad celebration preparations.

Later the next month, however, when the school offered to cover the bussing costs, Pool and Adams – who also have kids in the school – saw a glimmer of hope.

Adams stepped up to resume the chair role, and they hit the ground running.

A small team of parents sent donation letters to local businesses and started organizing various fundraisers.

The committee has set a goal of raising $20,000 before event day. With the perseverance of the two moms – plus several others involved – the group has successfully raised $19,000.

“Our fundraising events helped us raise money, but community sponsors played a big role here.,” said Adams. “Without their contributions, it would have been really tough.”

READ MORE: LETTER: Aldergrove high school students welcome community help with Dry Grad

The dry grad committee now has a confirmed location and date.

The graduating class of 2022 will be celebrating its success on Thursday, June 23 at Aldergrove Community Credit Union. The celebrations will also involve a prom night.

“The kids are happy. After all this, they weren’t expecting anything big, but we look forward to putting together an amazing event,” said Pool.

The group is still seeking some help.

“Any donations that will help us put on a safe, alcohol- and drug-free event to celebrate this milestone would be appreciated,” Pool added.

To contact the committee, people can email at acssdrygrad2022@gmail.com.

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