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Feature - First among equals

A year of firsts for the Class of 2002 and the Whistler community

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But this year four students, including Kath Rybar, went to a conference in Vernon to learn more about it and when they came back their enthusiasm for the idea got the ball rolling.

"We had been hearing a lot, especially at that time, about a number of different accidents involving teenagers in Vancouver," said Rybar, who will be travelling to the south of England to attend university at Herstmonceux Castle as part of a UBC program.

"At that point we hadn’t had a single student that we had known of that had been killed or badly injured in a car accident and so we thought we wanted to keep it that way."

Rybar admits that not every student thinks a Dry Grad is a good idea.

"But I think that for the most part now people are getting pretty excited about the whole deal."

There will be lots to do at the event.

"It is going to be a really fun night," said Rybar.

"The message is you don’t need to be drunk to have fun. We want to show kids that there are other ways to do things."

Said grad Hailey DeKraker: "I think it is pretty good for us to take it on.

"I think if any class this was the grad class to do it.

"I think it is important to show that we have that control. That not all teenagers are the stereotype of the partyers and for this one big occasion, which would usually have a big party, we can go without drinking.

"It shows that we can plan and organize an event like this."

Trevor O’Reilly, who graduates this year and hopes to pursue university in the States in the next couple of years on a golf scholarship, has lived here all his life.

"(Dry Grad) should be interesting," he said.

"It sounds good so far. There will be a lot of activities and stuff to do.

"At first people were really skeptical about it, but a lot of people worked really hard, (youth worker) Greg McDonnell, the parents, and others so it should be great.

"It’s really just taking one night off drinking, not that we drink or anything. So it is not that hard to sacrifice one night even though some people think it is the biggest deal."

There will be a mocktail bar – with blender drinks as the theme to go along with the two hot tubs donated for the evening by Splash Nash Spa’s.