Graduation time: bridging generations

Anda Vintila

Anda Vintila

By Lauren Taylor

For generations, grad has been a rite of passage into the adult world.

For three Oak Bay grads from very different generations, we can see the way this celebration has changed.

Jean Sparks, who graduated from Oak Bay High in 1958, recounts graduation events lasting a whole weekend, starting on June 3.

The ceremony and reception took place in the auditorium; the dinner was held at the Hougheed Banquet Hall and the dance at Victoria College.

There was also a church service at Oak Bay United Church and a tea for mothers and daughters. Sparks’ date to the dance and after party was then boyfriend, Richard, to whom she is still married.

He wore a navy blue suit, white shirt and red tie.  She  wore a white chiffon dress with a blue lace inset she made herself.

The after-party was up at Shawnigan Lake.

“It lasted all day and night,” she said. The activities included waterskiing, swimming, sunbathing and trips to Isle de Sol.

Overall, Sparks’ experience was positive and she was involved in the planning and decorating for the dance with a core group that still get together after 50 years.

For Joanne Turner, who graduated 20 years later in 1978, grad was a little different.

The ceremony was still at Oak Bay High, but it was in the gym, and she remembers being terrified of tripping on her dress climbing up and down the bleachers.

The dinner/dance which followed was at the Da Vinci Centre, with an after-party at “Mike’s house,” in the Uplands.

There was also an informal dance, where she danced to “We are Family,” and “Last Dance.”

When Turner was asked what her date wore she said, “Oh my God, a baby blue tux, white shirt and a white rose boutonniere.”

Turner wore a mint green, halter-style dress made by her mom, with a “butterfly-like” cover up. She says the outfit was “very groovy.”

Overall, she says she enjoyed grad, but admits she would have had more fun going with her girlfriends, since her date had too much to drink and passed out.

She ended the night by walking home with her best girlfriend at 6 a.m.

Present-day graduation is similar to past generations, but has its own modern twist to it.

Anda Vintila (class of 2011) started her grad out with a block party on Lincoln Road. Then, she was driven to the Laurel Point Inn for the dinner/dance.

The formal ceremony takes place next Friday (June 8) at the University of Victoria.

The grad dance was casino-themed and consisted of photos, draw prizes, a buffet-style dinner, grad slide show and the dance. Anda didn’t take a date, but chose to go with her friends instead. She wore a strapless white dress with a sweetheart neckline and had her hair delicately braided up.

When asked if she enjoyed grad, Anda replied “Yes, but it was too long.”

For these three Oak Bay graduates, grad is preserved in their minds as the first time that they felt ready enough to take that “next step.”

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