Seniors know it all too well: standardized exams asking $50 each for three hours of testing torture and colleges probing us prospective applicants to dish out around the tune of $80 just for a chance to get in. And now, early in this year, La Plata High School implemented a change to the price of senior dues doubling them from a reasonable $90 to a surprising $180. How’s that for your wallet?
The $180 is meant to pay for quite a lot. With this, the cost of senior awards and recognitions, commencement exercises, and a class T-shirt are all covered. Typical senior year payments, but the main points of discussion, however, are the class picnic, the yearbook, and the cap and gown, all of which the Class of 2017 can blame for the sudden hike in price. Many seniors, one of which being Sarah Gough, think that it’s “rather insensitive of [the administration] to charge an outrageous amount… for a number of items that many seniors don’t want.” These are but a few of the many debated changes that have been added this year, but we’ll highlight the pros and cons of each.
First off is the class picnic, a new addition meant to replace the perennial class trip. Although not much information has been revealed about it yet, many seniors have expressed their discontent about the recent decision. Gone are the days of going to Hershey Park or Kings Dominion at the end of the year (I mean if you really want to go, you can go by yourself some other time, but that’s beside the point). Instead, it is swapped with a picnic. This is, in my opinion, the most grey area of senior dues: everyone doesn’t go to the class trip, but this alternative will include everyone, a more representative culmination of what we have done as a class. I suppose it’s what we make of it.
Our award-winning yearbook also makes its way into our class debts. Many schools in Southern Maryland – Lackey comes to mind – already include the yearbook in their senior dues and thus, are accustomed to the payments, but this sudden rise in price can be a bit daunting for less fortunate families. On the plus side, since senior dues are $90 more than last year’s and the yearbook price at the end of last year was $95, members of the Class of 2017 get a discount for purchasing. However, while it is understandable for every graduating senior to have a little piece of La Plata after they claim their diplomas in June, with all the other debts associated with senior year, everything can add up rather quickly. Buying a yearbook should be a choice rather than another box to be checked off in the laundry list of tasks to be done and paid for in order to graduate. After all, our school yearbook’s quality can speak for itself and needs no extra persuading in attracting buyers.
On September 14th at the Class of 2017 Informational Meeting, La Plata unveiled its final change concerning senior dues—and graduation, too: the new graduation gowns. To summarize everything, in order to preserve a form of unity, administration has seen it fit to outfit all the graduating seniors with blue gowns supplanting the traditional blue and white outfits that previous classes have so prided in wearing. Undoubtedly the most controversial aspect of senior dues, the new graduation gowns have been causing an uproar among us 12th graders because many believe that among our other expenses, we are paying for the very gowns that we have so resisted. I understand the sentiment. I really do. Unity is an important quality to instill in the students, especially since recent issues of race, religion, and gender have divided us, but we could stand united and do it while wearing our true school colors. Plural. White and blue is a time-honored tradition, and reinforces, yet respects the separate, but equal nature between the lasses and lads of La Plata. My thoughts, keep it the same.
Although moving on and making each and every year unique are important, that does not necessarily equate to moving forward. Change is good, but we need to keep things in perspective. Everything in moderation, people.
Note: this article was written before the events of October 11th, 2016. See here for more info