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Chem Free Grad celebrated by school board

By Randy Thoms Jan 18, 2024 | 2:29 PM

Courtesy Chem Free Grad presentation, Rainy River District School Board, January 9, 2024.

Chem Free Grad is being celebrated by the Rainy River District School Board.

The annual event provides graduating students from Fort Frances High School a safe place to celebrate.

The first event, then called Safe Grad, was held in 1990 at Sunny Cove Camp.
It was later moved to the Memorial Sports Centre where the high school stages its graduation ceremonies.

The program was outlined to school board trustees during a recent meeting.

“The original intent at Chem Free Grad remains the same, supporting a drug, alcohol and substance-free celebration and graduation. The main goal of Kemp Grad is to make sure that every graduate has a safe grad night,” says Brian Gustafson, one of the coordinators. “Things can happen, and not all incidences can be prevented, but we can do our best to limit a life-altering accident.”

Gustafson says parents and graduates are the main drivers of the event.

Planning for the June event usually begins in February with a committee of parents looking at gathering sponsorships, purchasing prizes, food and beverages, games and entertainment, the venue, and arranging for volunteers.

“Parents and students go through a lot of different fundraising events for the event to make it a success. Over the years, there have been tag days, car washes, bake sales, spaghetti suppers, 50/50 draws, raffles, and the selling of Cisco food items,” says Gustafson.

Over 200 businesses and organizations have also contributed to the event with prizes, gifts and donations.

On the night of the event, graduates enjoy a variety of games, activities and food.

This has included inflatable games such as jousting and sumo wrestling, virtual reality gaming, roulette, blackjack and poker using play money.

Each graduate receives a prize package consisting of gift cards and gifts donated from area businesses or purchased through donations.

“The past two years have seen each graduate leaving with well over $150 worth of prizes each. Typically, over 80% of Fort High graduates attend and leave with memories to carry with them as they move forward to their new adventures.”