For Many Seniors, Expenses Are Not a Small Matter

As Pali seniors settle into their final semester of high school, many are met with countless financial decisions. The graduating class has the opportunity to participate in senior activities such as prom and Grad Nite, but with the high prices and other financial commitments such as looming college tuition, many are opting out. 

The cost of senior portraits and yearbooks has also been overwhelming for some. 

However, Pali Librarian Andrea King urges students struggling with expenses to take advantage of “Pali Cares”, a support program assisting students in need. Students experiencing financial difficulties can reach out to get access to these resources.

Despite the belief that participating in these expensive Pali traditions is an important part of the high school experience, some seniors disagree. 

“It’s not the fact that I can’t afford it, but rather the fact I simply don’t want to waste money on something I view as unimportant,” senior Caspar Turner explained.

On the other hand, seniors like Bryan Bravo believe their participation in senior activities is essential. However, Bravo said that the pricing of some of the events is inequitable.

“Pali shouldn’t expect everyone to have large amounts of money to pay for most of the overly priced items Pali sells, regardless of the school’s location,” Bravo said. “They definitely should reconsider the pricing on senior activities so everyone has a fair chance to participate and experience these things that are branded as such a big deal.”

While many students understand the reasoning behind the high costs of these activities, senior Gloni Hubbs said that events like prom should be relocated in order to make the event more accessible for everyone interested in participating.

“Prom is something I have been looking forward to since freshman year until I heard price details from the previous graduating class,” Hubbs said. “It’s a little ridiculous that we don’t have a good theme, yet will be paying ridiculous prices. I have the money, but I contemplate, is it really worth it.”

There are students who are interested in all of the senior bonding experiences, yet don’t have the necessary funds to participate in every activity. They have requested that their identity remain anonymous.

“My finances definitely determine my participation decisions throughout the year,” one senior confided. “You have your last homecoming, senior pictures, Grad Nite, yearbooks, senior gear, prom and many other events that cost a good amount of money. I come from a lower class family so it’s harder for me to afford these things when there’s a new event almost every month.”

Unfortunately, this is the story for many Pali seniors, especially those with other financial commitments as they transition to life after high school. 

Despite these financial struggles, Bravo said that purchasing a yearbook remains an important part of the high school experience.

“I love having yearbooks, especially the ones of my final years since I get to have my closest friends sign it,” Bravo said. “I want to save the memories that we’ve had and put them into the book and be able to go back in time and look at those memories and just reflect upon them.”

While the yearbook holds significance to some, events such as Grad Nite, priced at $150, are considered to be too expensive according to an anonymous senior.

“Not only is it too expensive, but we have to bring our own money for food and other expenses in addition to the ticket price, [and] I don’t have money like that,” said a student who requested anonymity. “I just wish things were priced more accordingly, and everyone had a chance to participate in events instead of watching from the sidelines pretending like they didn’t want to go or it’s not fun.”

In addition to complaints about high prices, students including Bravo were disappointed in the limited window in which students could commit to purchasing California Adventure tickets.

“It felt like the [Associated Student Body] only wanted the money,” Bravo said. “I missed my opportunity to purchase one, and that hit me hard since I felt like it was a creative way to commemorate my senior year and match with my friends.”

“There are events I didn’t get to participate in and that’s okay,” the anonymous student said. “But, for future references, I hope this changes. For a school that claims to want student involvement, they sure know how to raise a price through the roof.”