A class of grads in Hay River will be helping to ensure a safer Christmas season, while raising money for the graduation celebrations next year.

The students, with help from a group of parents, have organized the DJSS Grads 2020 Designated Drivers.

“I think it’s going to be a really great fundraiser and it’s going to make us a lot of money, and it’s really going to help towards our grand march,” said Nicole Griffiths, a Grade 12 student.

Griffiths also stressed the safety aspect of the service.

2The Grad Class of 2020 is offering a designated driver service for the Christmas season, as previous graduating classes have done for several years. Among this year’s two dozen graduates are, front row, left to right, Tarek Chicot, Molly McMinn, Nicole Griffiths, Zoe Walsh and Julie Rowe; and back, left to right, Shyla Boyce and Bryce Smith.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

“It’s really going to help and make sure people get home safely, and make sure they don’t drink and drive during the holiday season,” she said.

Grads and their parents at Diamond Jenness Secondary School – which is not involved in the initiative – have been offering the designated driver service for a number of years.

The service is available for large and small seasonal events and parties, particularly office parties leading up to Christmas.

Andrea Beck, a parent of a grad, said her employer, Aurora Ford, has used the designated driver service for a couple of years.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Beck, noting it is also used by a lot of other companies for their Christmas parties.

“So that way the people that do drive there, their vehicles can get back home to them safely without them driving,” she said. “So there’s no need for anyone to drive home. There’s drivers to get them and their vehicles home.”

The grads also offer a pick-up and drop-off service.

This year, the parents overseeing the initiative are Beck, Erin Griffiths and Lisa Smith.

Beck suggested that a company call at least a week in advance of its Christmas party.

“Sometimes there’s more than one corporate party a night,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be a corporate party. If someone is having a large event at their house and wants designated drivers, that would be fine, too.”

Lisa Smith noted that DJSS Grads 2020 Designated Drivers have been letting people know about the service on Facebook.

“We’ve made arrangements with different businesses and typically the businesses give a donation,” she said. “And then the kids also have tips, as well.”

This school year, there are about two dozen students in the graduating class and all are expected to be involved in the designated driver initiative.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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