The real cost to graduate

Sadie Millard, Reporter

Hey Seniors, are you excited to graduate? Jostens is excited for you to graduate too. Tuesday, October 29, Jostens representative, Brady Ayer, visited North High to sell senior graduation gear to the Class of 2020.

According to Jostens’ website, the most popular package for North is the “Redskin Package.” The package is priced at $266.50 and includes a key ring, hoodie, two t-shirts, a senior bag, announcement and photo card bundle, foil border name cards, tissue paper, return address labels, envelope seals, thank you cards, two tassels, and the all essential cap and gown.

Just a cap, gown, and tassel is $28.95

This may seem like a lot of items. How many are truly essential? With graduation only 7 months away, is it worth it to drop around $300?

As a Title I school, why are such expensive packages advertised to the student body? According to North High’s 2020 Gear Up representative, Schreen Williams, much of the merchandise can be purchased from different sellers at a lower price.

“You could order your graduation announcements through Walgreen’s, Walmart, Shutterfly, or Vistaprint,” Williams informed the senior class via text.

Walmart’s graduation announcements are priced at $0.99 at their lowest versus Jostens $1.30 announcements.

Students of North High have voiced their complaints about the elevated merchandise prices.

“I, a high school student, am working and barely affording to pay my own bills…” North High senior Marlen Castañeda said.

North High senior Melissa Ornelas believes Jostens was ‘attempting to make us spend lots of money on nonessentials for seniors such as jewelry and gear. They were exaggerating with their prices.’

It’s not only North High students who are feeling cheated by Jostens.

“I feel bad for people that get sucked into their gimmicks. I wish the school would provide other options…” Northeast Magnet senior Mimi Davis stated.

Goddard High senior Olivia Groceman adds, “They push you to buy items unnecessary to actual graduation and make you think you need those things from them.”

As if there wasn’t enough pressure from the high prices, students were only given a week to come up with a $60 down payment.

Do high schools represented by Jostens receive benefits? Jostens representative Brady Ayer explained that schools receive no kickbacks from using Jostens as a service. He also explained that USD 259 high schools are free to choose their graduation gear provider. All high schools in the district happen to use Jostens currently.

Ayer also adds that the Cap, Gown, and Tassel unit is the only things required for seniors walking at graduation.

No matter if you choose to order through Jostens or another company, graduating high school is a priceless occasion.