For many people, prom is one of the best days of high school—it is an event one remembers when looking back on his or her time at Paly. Although I agree this is an important tradition and that it should be a memorable night, the prom tickets at Paly are much too expensive. Paly’s Associated Student Body (ASB) should modify prom planning in order to make this an enjoyable event without making it too costly for students.
Last year, prom was $100 per ticket, which is already very expensive, and this year, the cost is expected to increase. According to Matt Hall, the Student Activities Director, this year “[prom] will be about a 10 to 15 percent increase over last year.” That means that the ticket is expected to be between $110 and $115 per person.
As a result of the costly tickets, students with financial difficulties might have to miss out on prom night. This is why ASB should consider decreasing the price to somewhere between $90 and $100 in order to allow more students to participate in this enjoyable experience without having to worry about the financial aspect.
Although it may seem difficult to make prom less expensive, there are several solutions that would decrease the prom budget.
According to ASB President Jessica Tam, the majority of the prom budget goes to rental fees for the venue. To decrease expenditures in the future, ASB could book the venue earlier in order to have more options. Last year, ASB booked the prom venue in May of the year before the event, which is the earliest Paly has ever booked prom. However, even in May, many other high schools in the Bay Area have already chosen a location, limiting Paly’s options. For instance, Henry M. Gunn High School (Gunn) often books their prom venue one or two years before the event, which is always before Paly, thus giving Gunn more options for the venue. In addition, once Gunn books their venue, the possible dates of prom are limited for Paly because Paly cannot have prom on the same night as Gunn, since some students attend both.
In the future, ASB should book the venue at least a year or two in advance in order to have more options for the location. If ASB has more venues with different rental prices to choose from, it will be able to pick a less pricey but still enjoyable location, which will decrease the price of prom tickets significantly.
Another important factor that determines the cost of prom tickets is how much ASB subsidizes throughout the year. Gunn’s ASB generates a significant revenue through dances, especially Homecoming, and the proceeds go directly to the prom budget. As a result, last year, prom tickets at Gunn were $90, which is more reasonable than the price of Paly tickets.
A simple answer to this problem would be to have more dance attendance at Paly. However, although ASB puts in a lot of effort to better the Paly dances, the attendance is nowhere near as impressive as Gunn’s, and the dances are unable to subsidize Paly’s prom budget.
However, there are many other ways to fundraise money to subsidize the prom budget. For example, the junior and senior class could have a car wash, bake sale, pancake breakfast or even a marathon, and have the proceeds go toward decreasing the price of prom.
Also, an important element in fundraising is to announce where the funds are being used. In the past, ASB has done fundraisers, but most students were not aware that the proceeds went to subsidizing the prom budget. If ASB tells the students that the proceeds of the fundraising events will decrease prom ticket’s cost, student participation could increase.
By booking the venue earlier and organizing various fundraisers throughout the year, ASB, along with help from the students, can significantly lower the price of the prom ticket, which will make prom an enjoyable and affordable experience for all students.