Self Design High EOS program students were preparing for their masquerade ball which takes place this Saturday night. The event is an important fundraiser for their ambitious grad projects.

Self Design High EOS program students were preparing for their masquerade ball which takes place this Saturday night. The event is an important fundraiser for their ambitious grad projects.

A different take on graduation for Nelson’s Self Design High

Fourteen Grade 12 students are making the transition from being influenced to influential

Fourteen Grade 12 students are making the transition from being influenced to influential; their perspective on graduating sets a tipping point.

SelfDesign High is graduating the first group of youth from its EOS program this year. The alternative school leads students as they learn through experience while completing group projects. The cooperative approach fosters self-motivation and teaches “life is learning.”

“Everyone has to be so self-motivated,” says student Brynn Forsey. “Seeing that people want to learn is empowering.”

Rather than the typical graduation, this group is dedicated to a graduation with a difference. They have been preparing, researching, and planning for months, with some new and innovative approaches.

The EOS students are celebrating graduation by volunteering while exploring other cultures and landscapes. They’re taking action on something that matters deeply to them, says graduating student Cobi Delfiner.

“We were looking for something a bit more meaningful,” she says. “Our program to begin with is so diverse. It breaks through the norm so it just didn’t make sense to do the same thing with grad.”

The students have chosen to travel to Guatemala in April where they will help paint, garden, build and support the ongoing creation of a Children’s Village with Project Somos. The vision is to create a secure home and loving family environment for children in need.

“This seemed to make a lot of sense,” Delfiner said. “It fit really well with the group.”

Two weeks spent at Somos, outside Tecpan, will be followed by a week of travelling.

Then, at the end of May, the students will also visit and video the Great Bear Rainforest. The graduates say they want this first-hand experience to be able to relay the story of why this natural treasure is so important.

“I think our entire grad planning experience, Project Somos and the Great Bear Rainforest serve as opportunities for us as students to not only get a sense of the world but get a sense of ourselves, to get a good sense of what we want to do,” says graduating student James Tucker.

“This is a super influential time in our lives, so in general to spend our grad in the Great Bear Rainforest, it seems so meaningful,” says Delfiner.

Big plans come with big commitment, fundraising being the biggest challenge. The EOS Grad group is fundraising through community events such as a Winter Garage Sale, Family Bingos and a Masquerade Ball being held this weekend.

They have already organized and run the Fair Trade for Peace Market and are presently launching another social finance business, EOS Essential Oils.

“You will be hearing more about that soon,” says Delfiner. “We’re establishing these businesses to pass onto future students.”

Ironically, when asked about a ceremony on local turf with family in attendance, the crew at Self Design didn’t have any plan to relay.

“This is what we’ve chosen for ourselves. It suits our group better,” says student Lexi Nelson.

As part of their fundraising for their graduation trips, Self Design High is hosting their first formal masquerade ball on Saturday featuring live music by Bessie and the Back Eddies.

All ages are welcome from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. There will be a cash bar with beer and wine as well as sweet and savory snacks. Tickets are $20 for youth, $50 for adults and $120 for a family of up to two adults.

Tickets are available online at selfdesignhigh.org or at the door.