"Nickled-and-Dimed Again" by Emma Boersma

EDITORIAL: Cav Club shouldn’t have been canned for high school

Cavalier Club (Cav Club) has been disbanded, and families throughout the school get free attendance to more events.

We’re glad the school is helping financially burdened families by reducing “nickel-and-diming” — as Parents’ Association (PA) co-president Lainie Josephson said. However, those benefits don’t seem to fully reach the high school.

Lower and middle school events (e.g. Fall Family Festival, After School Enrichment’s Parents Nights Out, Nerf Night and middle school dances) are free. Not all high school events are.

High schoolers may not pay more money for dances, but they pay more frequently.

Whereas Cav Club members could attend multiple dances for free last year, now high schoolers have one free dance a year: Homecoming.

Furthermore, high schoolers still pay for some sports events, something that Cav Club covered (except for playoff games).

Head of school Lee Thomsen said he doesn’t want parents to pay “$20 here and $100 there,”  but for many high school parents and students, that semblance of being nickel-and-dimed is still alive and well.  

Likely, high school students and their parents agree with former Student Council adviser Patricia Jacobsen, who said she prefers “one-stop shopping” for events as opposed to buying tickets for each one.

Also, if high schoolers pay a membership fee, the Student Council can better gauge the funds at its disposal. Knowing its budget ahead of time can help the Student Council know how much money to request, find out if certain venues are feasible sooner and entice more students to go. (After all, students who pay for all dances at the beginning of the year will be more likely to attend them.)

Yes, the cost of dances varies every year, but all dances (except prom), Jacobsen said, stay within a price range.

Furthermore, if the administration can plan entire school budgets half a year in advance, the Student Council certainly can plan ballpark estimates for events after receiving the bulk of its funds at the beginning of the year via a Cav Club-like system.

Head of high school Brooke Wells said lower grades have a “class party fund,” through which the PA pays for year-end class parties. The would-be party fund for the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grades goes to all-high school activities like class snack and the Ancil Hoffman picnic and capture-the-flag football game, according to Wells.

If the fund is available for high school activities, why can’t the students vote on where they want their money to go? Students pay for advisory snacks, and it wouldn’t be unreasonable if they paid for class snacks as well.

In addition, since high school activities are more expensive than those in lower divisions, ninth- through 12th-grade students and parents will pay more no matter what. “Nickel-and-diming” is expected, so students should choose the activities they can’t go without.

Meanwhile, “friendraising,” although a noble goal for lower school parents, conflicts with high school ideals. High school parents naturally become less involved — and that’s OK.

Fundraising may need more attention — especially because if we want to open up more free events for students outside of lower and middle school, we’ll need a larger budget.

Worst comes to worst, if the school can’t cover the funds, many would rather pay once.

Like Jacobsen, high school parents likely would prefer to cover their children’s dances and sports events via a Cav Club-like membership if the expenses will exist anyway.

Lastly, spirit gear has all but disappeared in high school, possibly due to Cav Club’s discontinuation. And a high school-only Cav Club would cover apparel, such as class sweatshirts, another expense currently paid out of parents’ pockets.

Kids will pay anyway for dances, other events and snacks. But Cav Club made their lives easier.

Originally published in the Feb. 12 edition of the Octagon; revised due to factual errors.

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