Puttin’ on the ritz

Oak Bay High grads step out at block party

Although two of her older children have graduated from Oak Bay High, Sue McAllister has never attended the block party held for graduands on the day of their formal dinner. Her first two children graduated before the red carpet event – where students show off their gowns and tuxes before heading off in limos to a formal dinner – was organized just five years ago. But this year McAllister will get to watch her third child, Kate, 17, step out in a strapless wisteria-coloured full-length gown at the May 11 event.

“I’m very excited,” McAllister said. “It’s a chance to see Kate and all those kids I’ve watched grow up dressed up.”

Unlike other smaller Greater Victoria high schools, Oak Bay High does not have a venue big enough to host a graduation event that both parents and graduands can attend. Five years ago parents in the Denis Street neighbourhood organized the block party where classmates could gather in their finery before dinner. It’s become a popular event, now held in a different neighbourhood each year. This year the celebration for 2012’s graduating class of 280 will take place at the south end of Monterey Avenue, near Beach Drive between 4 and 6 p.m. Refreshments provided by Oak Bay merchants will be served. Classmates will then head to the Inn at Laurel Point for dinner. Oak Bay High’s graduation ceremony will take place June 6 at the University of Victoria.