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Car giveaways offer incentive to Cloverdale grads

Winner Kiana Padgham is all smiles at Lord Tweedsmuir.  - Contributed
Winner Kiana Padgham is all smiles at Lord Tweedsmuir.
— image credit: Contributed

Clayton Heights Secondary’s dry grad party had a great turnout this year, and a long-standing tradition may be partially responsible.

In order to promote safe, alcohol-free celebrations during grad season, Jonker Auto Group gives away completely refurbished used cars to two different local high schools.

The tradition started in 1998. A student was killed in a tragic car accident at a bush party at Stokes Pitt.

Karen and Karel Jonker of Jonker Auto Group wanted to do something to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.

Karel realized offering a tantalizing incentive – great prizes – might help convince more students to celebrate their high school graduation at a dry grad event instead.

Since then, 36 grand prize cars have been awarded to local high school grads, along with prizes donated by other local businesses, and attendance at dry grads has climbed.

ClaytonDryGradGiveawayThe grand prize cars aren’t new – they’re second hand vehicles that have been fixed up and refurbished, making them perfect for students coming out of high school needing new wheels for school or work, says Glen Goldhawk, fixed operations manager at Jonker Honda Nissan.

Tickets are handed out to each student attending their dry grad party, with three finalists chosen that night.

[ Lef: The sweet sound of success. A cheer goes up at Clayton Heights Secondary as giveaway winner Yubin Ahn turns the key and her (nearly) new car starts up. ]

Then, during school hours, each finalist chooses a balloon with a key inside. Only one key will start the engine to the car.

Some 200 Clayton Heights students turned out for this year’s dry grad, a four-hour overnight party.

On May 29, a very excited Yubin Anh won a sleek grey sedan. When she turned the key and the ignition started the engine, students erupted in cheers.

Kiana Padgham won the car given away at Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary on May 30. As at CHS, the other finalists won cash prizes.

Lord Tweedsmuir’s dry grad, a four-hour overnight cruise on the Britannia, was a sell-out.

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