McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Opinion | Being a senior is expensive

Towards the end of the school year, the many costs that come along with senior year continue to pile up
Beth Brackmann
Between fees, parking passes and “senior experiences,” it costs a lot of money to be a senior. While some expenses are easy for some to cover, they can make senior year much more stressful and less fun for others.

A student waits excitedly as the final days of their senior year of high school dwindle down and their peers eagerly discuss the ins and outs of their post-graduation plans. The student realizes that the day they have been looking forward to might not be what it seems. As the school year comes to a close, the cost of being a senior becomes more and more burdening. The final bill of our four years in high school seemingly continues to get higher and higher as more and more expenses arise.

While some students are excitedly counting down the days until graduation, others are dreading the day the grand total of their fees are due. All students must pay their school fees in order to graduate and get their diploma. For those whose families are tight on money, the hundreds of dollars required for registration and other school fees can be a major roadblock. However, the school fees are just the tip of the iceberg.

For the 2024 graduation ceremony, every senior had to purchase a $50 cap, gown, and tassel. This year, the design of the gown has been altered to include orange piping around the sleeves of the garment, unfortunately making past gowns unusable and out-of-date. In the past, students have been able to reuse gowns once used by their older siblings to save from having to buy another, but because of this new change, this year’s seniors are out of luck.

Not only do students endure the school fees and pricey graduation costs, but the fees that come with any average college application. These unavoidable fees make it hard for financially unequipped families to provide for their student’s future.

One of the biggest costs of being a senior is participating in prom. While it is an optional event, many students revere prom as a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can not be missed, making memories that will be cherished forever. The tickets themselves cost over $100 each; in addition to the cost of attire, which all adds up to hundreds being spent on one night.

In culmination with all of this, select seniors are honored for their academic achievements in events like the Distinguished Warrior Banquet. For the students who are invited, the banquet has additional costs. Any guests brought with them are $35 each. This is just another one of the many things that seniors might have to crack open their wallets for—or their parents.

While being a senior is an exciting time, with the many senior-exclusive events to honor our time in high school and celebrate our next steps, it can be just as stressful for those with strained financial situations. We seniors already have our hands full as we persevere towards finals, graduation, and post-secondary choices; the amount of money needed to sustain our senior year is yet another thing to add to the pile.

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