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8 Greater Victoria teens don fancy dresses, celebrate grad with seniors

With celebrations nixed, Amica Douglas House hosts event for its serving staff

Take eight young people, add a handful of seniors, a splash of celebration and a dash of wisdom, then mix into a ready-made public health pandemic.

Liam Brown, chef and director of culinary services at Amica Douglas House, discovered it’s a recipe for success. This spring he heard the tales of woe among a specific set of his servers – eight young women graduating high school in 2021. The grads – seven from Oak Bay High and one at St. Andrew’s – talked of celebration plans, or lack thereof this year.

“They were all bummed out they had their grad dresses and no event to wear them to,” Brown said.

“It seemed like a really big thing to do for them but it wasn’t. It felt like the right thing to do for that group of people and for the residents to be a part of it.”

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To him it was logical – they had the means to organize a grad event so they did.

The young women earned the night off from serving dinner, instead arriving for late afternoon photos outside the Victoria seniors residence. They spent nearly an hour posing for memories with family members and each other, within provincial health parameters, and enjoying an outdoor appie or two. Then shortly before 5 p.m. the teens waved family goodbye and headed indoors.

The dining room was a little more formal than usual, festooned with balloons and flowers.

Decor included a wall of photos featuring residents and with words of wisdom for the teens written on white boards. The residents also gussied up for the celebration, donning tuxes and dresses – then enjoyed the moments as the young women did the rounds, like a wedding reception, greeting the residents around the room.

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“They’re such a big part of the residents lives. They see them every day… every one of those girls is personable and friendly and polite,” Brown said.

The teens were treated to a toast then headed up for a private dinner in the ocean view lounge. With a distinct lack of serving staff that night, they were served by the head chef himself.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

Longtime journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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