A couple, both former Hope residents who are good friends of mine, travelled from out of town in order to escort one of the graduating students at her ceremony.
Participating in the evening as they did, these former townspeople had to voice their disappointment at the affair and when I heard their position, I had to agree.
Just as other writers to this paper’s editorial section in former years have noted, once again a town that raised and educated a generation is shunned when it’s time for that class to celebrate their coming out into the world.
For being a town that is trying to re-establish itself financially after its recent loss of so many industries, many if Hope’s teachers and students too seem determined to dishonour and disregard the process.
Each of the grads at this ceremony proudly displayed what was obviously very expensive formal dress attire, certainly bought out of town since the many former local vendors of such wares have all closed due to lack of patronage. Limousines had been rented for some of the attendees – these also from out of town.
But the capper was that despite to availability of local venues large enough and good enough to host the occasion, the whole gala event was held instead at the copper room of the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa. The dinner was a mediocre buffet (my friend has owned a catering company, she should know), for which the establishment required a jaw dropping $50 per plate. As the venue was not a hall booked for the occasion but rather was an active hotel banquet room, no decorating for the occasion was possible or seen.
By my friends’ very conservative estimate, in order to ‘honour’ the graduating class of 2012 in this manner, at least 50,000 Hope dollars flowed right out of the community.
What could possibly be the reason for such a decision? Was it some wish to hold the dinner in some ‘exotic’ location, or was it shame in one’s own community?
I can’t speak for everyone, but to my way of thinking any shame falls ‘somewhere else.’