Senior year can get costly

Seniors encounter too many expenses before graduation.


Ethan Kraus

Students line up in the bookstore to purchase their $70 prom tickets.

Yearbook–$65, Graduation Fee–$65, Prom Ticket–$70, After-grad Party–$25, AP Test–$100, Six Flags ticket–$30. Public school sure is expensive.

Parkway South High is a public school, meaning that there is no tuition or any cost for students to attend and receive a proper education. However, there are many fees that students, specifically seniors, are practically required to pay in order to enjoy their time here. These fees range from outrageously expensive AP test fees to the $25 after-grad party fee. I feel that seniors are encouraged to pay far too much money to have an enjoyable experience as a student.

Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge that yes, many of the fees imposed on Parkway South students are not mandatory ones; if a student is unable/unwilling to pay a fee, it won’t be held against him/her. However, my opinion is that paying these various costs is heavily encouraged by the staff, to a point where the line between mandatory and voluntary pay has been blurred. This is extremely visible in AP testing. As of 2019, the cost for taking one AP test is $100. While taking an AP test isn’t a requirement, it is strongly encouraged by the staff through both word-of-mouth and incentive programs, such as “students aren’t required to take the final if they take the AP test.” With many students taking multiple tests, the cost for these seemingly crucial exams can add up to multiple hundreds of dollars.

For the seniors, this issue extends further. Graduation, prom, the after-grad party, Six Flags, and buying a yearbook all costs money. Once again, while many of these fees are not mandatory (apart from the $65 graduation fee), they are strongly encouraged by the staff. Also, what student would want to miss out on the many experiences that require a fee? In not paying these “optional” fees, a senior would not be able to walk at graduation, not be able to attend prom, not be able to go to the after-grad party, not go with their friends to Six Flags, and basically not be able to participate in what makes being a senior so enjoyable. Being a senior feels like being in a “pay-to-play” app, and honestly, it’s very unfair.

I feel that the wall of fees imposed on students could be a great challenge to many of those who don’t have that ability to pay. While there are accommodations for these situations, I still believe that, by making everything cost money, you’re making the experience of being a senior unfair in the sense that you have to have money to participate and enjoy it.

As a solution, I feel that more public funds should be diverted to partially cover some of these costs. I’m not saying that those funds should erase all student fees, but I am saying that some help may make a difference. However, if that is not a possibility, I feel that, as another solution, there should be less emphasis on the importance of AP tests, prom, and other expensive events/exams.

To conclude, I believe that there are far too many costs imposed on students, especially seniors, at Parkway South, and I hope that this problem can be addressed in some way or another in order to make the experience of being an involved student here a fair one.