Live Oak High Beat: The costs of senior year
Whether it ends with mutual understanding or pained groans, the issue of money has long been a topic discussed between teenagers and their parents. This conversation is most significant when teenagers become entrusted with more responsibilities as they grow older. Youth must inevitably learn to face costs associated with high school life.
For families struggling to manage these costs, senior year can present challenges as the amount of fees, fines and payments accumulate. At Live Oak High School, students' senior year costs range from basic necessities to multiple upgrades and extras. Wherever students stand in this spectrum, most would agree that they spend more during senior year compared to previous years.
Senior Lidia Pureco, 18, remarked, "Students have to pay for their cap and gown. Many students also purchase class rings, yearbooks and senior photos, too. The costs add up if people want to attend prom and the senior trip in addition to everything else."
Although the majority of the aforementioned expenses are not mandated by the school, there are hidden costs that can surprise seniors once the bill arrives. College applications can run into the hundreds of dollars if students do not qualify for fee waivers. This could force students to trim their university list to institutions that are the most practical but not always preferred. Even sending test scores like the SAT or ACT, which are required for most universities in order to be considered for admission, may raise costs.
A common approach to combat these expenses include fundraising at school or sporting events. Roger Christianson, a teacher at LOHS and one of the Class of 2012 advisers, has assisted in many of the senior class' fundraisers. "We've done concession stands at games, sold cake pops and beef sticks and collected pocket change," Christianson recalled.
Fundraising is not always an easy task, as many require a prior investment or dedicated parents and students. Others necessitate carefully planned publicity and excited word of mouth communication. Christianson explained, "There is no 'miracle.' Everything is so expensive. Students basically have to begin raising money from the start of high school to truly offset or cover costs. It requires hard work on the part of the kids and parents."
Seniors must also handle the additional costs in other ways that reflect families' tightening budgets. Pureco said, "I have a younger sister in high school so it's not only me that requires money for various activities and clubs. We try to pay in installments and lower expenses in other areas such as clothing."
One may argue that some senior year spending is unnecessary, even frivolous. Yet the reasoning behind going on the senior trip or buying a class ring goes beyond mere economic effects. Senior Manvir Chahal, 17, stated, "It's likely that we will never see each other again, all together like this. You can't put a price on memories."