Penticton and South Okanagan
Jun 19, 2012 / 8:57 am
Photo: Deborah Pfeiffer - Castanet
RCMP set up a checkpoint on Greyback Mountain Road where Penticton teens held a graduation bush party Monday night.
On Friday, the mother of the Penticton teen who died at last year’s graduation bush party left: a green cross, a candle and a picture of her son at a forested site up Carmi Road.
She hoped the sad memorial would stop high school students from holding a similar party this year, but the party went on Monday night. It was in a different spot, with a strong police presence. Many teens did opt out, choosing to gather at friends’ homes or other alternatives.
“I want people to know he is missed dearly and to serve as a deterrent to the partying,” said Linda Childs.
Childs’ son, 16-year-old Andrew McAdam, died when he was stabbed at the bush party, known as 'sunset', on June 17, 2011.
Jamie Wolanski, the young man accused of stabbing the teen, is now in jail for breaching his bail conditions.
McAdam would have been a member of the 2012 graduating class this year.
His name was mentioned at the Penticton Secondary School graduation ceremony and a bursary was awarded in his honour.
Letters were also sent home to parents asking them not to let their teens participate in the party, which is not a district event, said School District 67 Superintendent Wendy Hyer.
“We have had kids getting into fights and drinking and driving,” she said. “And it’s not just school kids going up there - that is the other piece.”
On Monday night, the only activity up Carmi Road was birds flitting through the trees above Andrew’s memorial.
Teens flocked instead to Greyback Mountain Road.
As they listened to loud music, a group of girls in the back of a pick-up truck, who asked not to be named, said many students knew Andrew their entire lives so they chose to move the party elsewhere.
Near the entrance to the gathering, several RCMP officers were stopping vehicles and talking to occupants.
Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth said the police were there to ensure the safety of people coming and going from the party.
“We went into the campground and talked to the kids and said be good and careful and respect each other,” he said.
He wasn’t surprised the kids chose to party at a new site.
“I would suspect that (Carmi Road) is a negative location now,” he said.
Parent, and former School District 67 trustee, Kevin Andrews said he believed the tragic and untimely loss of the teen led to the change.
“But in order to really make a difference we need to change public attitude and inform more parents of what is going on with our kids,” he said. “In the end we need to be more involved.”
Childs, who had planned to stage some sort of protest at the party, said the last few days, including the court case and a memorial walk for Andrew, were simply too draining.
She hopes students will continue to find alternative ways to end the school year in the future.
“More people need to be aware of what happens at these parties and what happened to my son,” she said. “It has to stop somewhere.”
Read more Penticton / S. Okanagan News
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Penticton & Wine Country Chamber
Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen
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Summerland Chamber & Tourism
Town of Oliver
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Town of Keremeos
School District 67 - Okanagan Skaha
School District 53 - Okanagan Similkameen
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