Dinner cooks up support for dry grad

Tying together a good meal, a fun evening and a chance to take home some steals from a silent auction seems to be a winning combination for Penticton Secondary’s annual spaghetti dinner.

Singer-songwriter Nikita Afonso tunes up for her performance Thursday at the Penticton Secondary School spaghetti dinner

Singer-songwriter Nikita Afonso tunes up for her performance Thursday at the Penticton Secondary School spaghetti dinner

Tying together a good meal, a fun evening and a chance to take home some steals from a silent auction seems to be a winning combination for Penticton Secondary’s annual spaghetti dinner.

“It’s our biggest fundraising event, the premiere event of the year,” said Peter Byrne, one of the parents organizing this year’s version of the popular annual event, which is a fundraiser for the dry grad party for this year’s graduating students. 

Making sure those students have a safe and enjoyable graduation, Byrne said, is the big reason for the work the parent volunteers get behind the annual fundraising drive, which includes everything from bottle drives to the big event.

“It’s a great time for the kids graduating, but it can be dangerous,” Byrne said. “We want to make sure they enjoy themselves, but it’s done safely.”

Besides the dinner, prepared by chef Chris Garvey and “the Lunch Box Crew,” the $10 ticket price for the evening includes a talent show displaying the skills of Pen High students, from magicians to singing and dancing.

“I think people would be surprised at the level of talent, not only at Pen High, but in Penticton generally,” said Byrne, praising the talents of the performers who are putting themselves on the line.

Local business have also donated generously to the silent auction, everything from helicopter sightseeing tours to family portraits to restaurant dinners. There will also be a cruise lottery draw for a trip for two on a cruise to the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera or Alaska.

All the money raised from the auction and the dinner goes into the dry grad fund, with the aim of providing both a safe environment and a large-scale party to help the grads celebrate their achievements and acknowledge the years of work they put into completing their high school education.

“It’s a good community event, something I can be proud to be involved with,” said Byrne. 

While the parents organizing change from year to year as their children graduate, Byrne gives credit to principal Bill Bidlake and vice-principal Jeff Guy for shepherding them through the organizing the event and providing continuity from year to year. 

Tickets for the event, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, are $10  and can be purchased at the school office or any member of the dry grad committee.