‘Gradmother’ to the rescue

By: Darren Handschuh Published April 2, 2019, Courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

High school graduation is the culmination of years of hard work and arguably the biggest day of a teen’s life.

It is a time to get dressed up and celebrate 12 years of academic achievement.

But, for some, grad is a time of stress because some students can’t afford the fancy dress or tuxedo their classmates are wearing.

Enter the Fairy Gradmothers program.

Operating in secondary schools in Armstrong and the Shuswap, the program collects donated grad dresses and suits and gives them to students who can’t afford one on their own.

Diyame Caterer, of the Sullivan campus of Salmon Arm Secondary School, is spearheading the program.

Tori Jewell, at Pleasant Valley Secondary School in Armstrong, is the contact for the North Okanagan branch of the program.

“We have about 100 dresses in a variety of sizes,” said Caterer. “People are always bringing in gorgeous dresses that have maybe only been worn once. We are in need of shoes and bags.”

Three seamstresses in Salmon Arm are donating their time to alter the dresses to fit students.

The dresses are available to anyone in School District 83, and all a student needs to do is talk to their school counsellor about the program.

“They can pick up a dress they want,” said Caterer. “It is a lot of fun. It is the highlight of my day.”

While the main focus is on dresses, the program also has suits for male students.

For more information on the program or to donate a dress or suit, contact Caterer at 250-832-2188, extension 125.

Jewell can be reached at PVSS by calling 250-546-3114.