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F.P. Walshe class grad will hold banquet in Lethbridge

F.P. Walshe school will hold its 2015 grad banquet at a Lethbridge hotel.
Principal Bill Forster told Chamber of Commerce members Thursday the school would prefer to have the event in Fort Macleod and went to the city as a last resort.
“We’ve been going through quite a process over the fall,” Forster said.
Forster appeared as a delegation at the Chamber’s lunch meeting at the Town of Fort Macleod economic development office.
Forster said it is a priority at F.P. Walshe school to support Fort Macleod whenever possible.
“We really encourage with our students and what we do in our school to support local businesses whenever we can,” Forster said.
Forster said that philosophy is in keeping with a direction promoted by Alberta Education.
“One of the large pushes in education is reaching out to the community,” Forster said.
Forster talked about challenges presented by the modernization project that moved students from F.P. Walshe to G.R. Davis school for the next two years.
The school’s convocation ceremony is traditionally held in the school gymnasium at the end of June.
That isn’t possible this year, since the gym is smaller and the area that previously served as the stage was turned into a band room.
The convocation ceremony this year will be held at Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
“That venue for that ceremony is sufficient in terms of numbers,” Forster said.
The community hall is not big enough to accommodate the number of people who attend the grad banquet.
Forster said it is an F.P. Walshe school tradition to allow students to invite as many people as possible to the grad banquet.
For some students that is four guests, while for others it can be 14.
“That is the one comment we hear over and over,” Forster said of attendance at the grad banquet.
Last year F.P. Walshe school started a push to have the grad banquet in town, and it was held at Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre, with dinner supplied by a caterer.
“When we came to this year we had a fairly long consultation with our students, our parents, our staff,” Forster said.
There was no consensus on whether the banquet should be held in Fort Macleod, or in the city.
“People said try to keep it local if you can,” Forster said.
F.P. Walshe school called for tenders to cater the banquet, with no response.
“At that point we had to make the decision we’re going to have the banquet in Lethbridge at one of the hotels,” Forster said.
Forster said hiring a caterer from Lethbridge to handle the banquet in Fort Macleod is cost-prohibitive.
The school is offering Fort Macleod businesses the chance to promote their services through future grad newsletters.
“Even though the banquet is going to be held in Lethbridge a lot of the students will shop locally,” Forster said.
Forster said while the decision is to hold the banquet in Lethbridge this year, that doesn’t mean it always will.
“Next year we will be revisiting it again,” Forster said. “We would like to keep it in town.”