Grad Will Ngenda and guest Erin Boy are all smiles as they receive the red carpet treatment at Waterwheel Park Saturday afternoon. Chemainus Secondary School grads paraded around town and then posed for countless photos on the red carpet before departing for their prom at Arbutus Ridge Golf and Country Club in Cobble Hill. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chemainus Secondary Grads on Parade

Downtown comes alive with well-dressed young men and women on the red carpet

No one was going to rain on the Chemainus Secondary School 2019 grads’ parade.

It looked dicey for a while with the weatherman threatening to do just that Saturday afternoon, but the skies miraculously cleared and the sun came out less than an hour before the prom parade and red carpet walk in downtown Chemainus.

“We had the tents prepared just in case to have set up and put in place should we need them,” said Laura Funk, the grad and prom chair.

Fortunately, they weren’t required and the grads didn’t have to worry about their dresses or suits getting wet and, for the girls, ruining their perfectly-styled hair.

“I’m glad the weather held off and stopped raining,” sighed Funk.

But it was a close call and went right up to the last minute before drying out. The grads in all sorts of transportation modes did a loop around the downtown area and then paraded in front of a seemingly endless array of cameras on the red carpet before being whisked away to the Arbutus Ridge Golf and Country Club for the evening.

A lot of work goes into making the annual event happen that’s become quite a spectacle in Chemainus for the grads’ families and friends, and residents of no relation just interested in seeing the class in the final stages before graduation. Tourists around at the time even stopped by to check it out.

“We started with planning in the beginning of the (school) year in September,” said Funk.

Monthly meetings followed and there was always something that needed to be done along the way.

The event was formerly held on the first Friday in May on a Pro-D Day, but Chemainus Secondary School principal Lori Hryniuk lobbied for the date to be changed.

“The principal approached me if we would consider moving it to later because the students tend to lose momentum after prom,” noted Funk.

The switch was also made to a Saturday, giving the students plenty of time to get ready. The schedule balance seemed to work out better, with students heading into exams without a lapse.

Then it’s on to dry grad and, before you know it, the walk-up ceremony at Chemainus Secondary School June 21.

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