Senior year in high school comes at a high cost.  While students are busy applying for colleges, they also have to plan for photos, graduation, prom, and senior activities. At many local high schools, students often have to opt out of events that are considered staples for so many others because they simply can’t afford to participate.

Many students’ families can barely make ends meet, and the students do not want to add to their families’ financial burdens. Many graduating seniors don’t go to prom or participate in many of shared group activities, because of cost and miss out on the opportunity to make lifelong memories.

Some students begin working part-time jobs even while in their junior year,  just to pay for the expenses of being a senior.  

“Senior year is coming up,” says 17-year-old Abril Munoz, “and there’s going to be a lot of expenses, like my cap and gown, senior photos, class ring and everything.   I just don’t want my parents to pay for all of that.”  

During the school year, senior class officers at high schools like Theodore Roosevelt, Francisco Bravo, and Feliticas and Gonzalo try to find ways to fundraise in order to offset some of the costs. The highs schools hold fundraisers at local pizza parlors, and sell candy and Christmas cards.  Even so, senior costs at local high schools run approximately $300 for the basics, with this year prom tickets alone at almost $130.

““My mom has had a hard time with paying for my senior packet and it’s even resulted with her asking other family members to contribute because the prices are really high” says 18-year-old Madison Aranda.

Photo by Pablo De La Hoya

A former Boyle Heights Beat youth reporter and a graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School, .Carol Martinez is a second-year student at UCLA studying to earn a degree in English and Communications. Carol...

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