Alumni from high schools in New Westminster are hoping to help today’s students make the most of their time in secondary school.
The newly formed NWSS Alumni Committee, comprised of students who attended New Westminster Secondary, Lester Pearson, Duke of Connaught or Trapp Tech secondary schools, is coming together to raise money for the athletic department at NWSS. The goal is to help with the growth of athletics, to provide scholarships, to assist dedicated athletes from lower-income homes, to provide development clinics and to help with uniforms and bussing at the high school.
Don Robertson, who graduated from NWSS is 1973/74, said the idea came about after a discussion he had with a school official, who mentioned some funding had been cut for athletics programs.
“The idea was to try and figure out a way to get into the school system to make a positive impact on the life of kids,” he said.
Robertson, Ronda (Josey) Baker, Chuck Leek and George Morneau formed a committee and, since December, have been meeting every couple of weeks on Zoom to discuss fundraising plans. New West high school alumni Ken Winslade, Chuck Condon and Bob Wright have been providing additional assistance.
“We will be happy with whatever we can gather together financially. My initial goal was $200,000,” he said. “We want to be able to help with whatever, whether it is drama, whether it is band, whether it is educational. We didn’t just want to single out athletics – it’s just that athletics seems to be the easiest starting point.”
According to Robertson, one NWSS graduate has committed to donating $10,000 a year for five years.
The NWSS Alumni Committee is hard at work on plans for its first major event – a golf event fundraiser that’s taking place at Delta Golf and Country Club on Saturday, June 25, with a shotgun start at 1:30 p.m. (attendees should arrive around 12:30 p.m.) The event features a “scramble format” with men's, women's and mixed teams.
“Golf seemed to be a chance to get the greatest number of people together – outdoors, fresh air, distancing,” Robertson said. “There are so many alumni. We thought that would be an easy thing to do.”
Folks don’t have to be great golfers to attend the fundraiser, Robertson said.
“Usually in that kind of event, there might be one good golfer in a group. More often, it’s one mediocre golfer,” he said. “That’s why that (scramble) format is popular – there is no pressure.”
The event will include an opportunity to have a golf pro take a shot (for a donation) at one of the long holes. At one of the par three holes, alumnus Rod Gettel will donate $10 for everybody who hits a shot onto the green.
Alumni Darren Flintoff from Mr. Mikes Steakhouse Casual will be providing free appetizer certificates for a putting contest
The event includes a post-golf barbecue dinner and an auction, where attendees will have a chance to bid on items such as a wine fridge, an electric bike, rounds of golf at Whistler Golf Club, a restored antique putter and a painting by alumna Lynn Usher.
In addition to supporting New Westminster Secondary School, Robertson said the event is a great opportunity for alumni to meet up with old friends.
“Golf is the excuse to get people together to reconnect,” he said. “We are all alumni.”
Robertson said it’s hoped the golf tournament will become an annual event. As more people become involved in the committee, he said there could be opportunities to plan additional events.
Organizers must finalize the number of golfers and diners (people can opt to attend the dinner only) by June 11, so they’re advised to register as soon as possible.
For information and tickets, as well as opportunities to be a sponsor at the golf fundraiser or make a donation to the cause, go to www.nwalum.ca.