Students Dancing Around Cost of Prom

By Leslie Redmond

WASHINGTON — The high school prom is normally a moment students won’t forget. But due to the poor economy, prom fees will be what seniors remember at McKinley Technology High School.

Normally, students go all out to get sharp and dress to impress at the prom. But some students are playing it close to the vest this year because the affair can be an expensive one once you figure in the cost of a ticket, clothes and transportation to the Camelot ballroom in Upper Marlboro, Md.

So far, only two students have paid for the prom, which is May 27, according to Lauren Chapman, a student member of the prom committee.

Tickets cost $75.

But there are other costs to consider. For ladies, hair and makeup are high on the list.

McKinley Tech senior Ryan Gale said her hairdo will cost at least about $60. And between her manicure, pedicure and getting her eyebrows done, she will have to spend at least $80 more. And she hasn’t even got her dress yet.

She said prom expenses are part of the reason she has two jobs.

“I can’t believe I have to work two jobs to pay for prom. Sometimes I miss out on going out with friends. I work late and have to get up early,” Gale said.

Guys are really feeling the heat since they are the ones generally expected to pay for everything.

Senior Rashad Watt said the cost of the prom is too much so he’s doing something different this year.

“Man, I’m going by myself,” he said. “I ain’t messing with no date.”

He is considering renting a tuxedo because he thought it would be cheaper than buying one.

Senior Othneil Blagrove said he was getting a tuxedo from Men’s Wearhouse.

“At first I was just going to get a suit from Men’s Wearhouse, but once I found out they were having a tuxedo sale, I figured I would just go with that,” he said.

Men’s Wearhouse is having a sale — buy one and get one free. But a tuxedo still isn’t cheap. The price range for a tuxedo is $149.99-$399.98.

Transportation is another problem for some students.

Blagrove said he wasn’t getting a limousine or renting a car. Instead, he is borrowing a car from his friend.

Dominique Scott, another senior, said she and her friends are going to share a limousine.

“Times are hard, limousines are too expensive, so me and a couple friends are going to share one and split the cost,” she said.

Already, sponsors for next year’s prom are considering the costs in this unstable economy.

Travis Hartburger, a chemistry teacher at McKinley Tech and the 2010 prom sponsor, is hopeful sponsors can head off any problems early.

“We are trying to plan as many fund-raisers as possible,” he said. “The approach we’re taking is looking at what ‘09 is doing and seeing what we can do different.”

LaShay Wilkerson, the 2010 class president, added: “We have to bring in money now and not wait until the last minute so we won’t end up like the Class of 2009, who are struggling to make up for fund-raising they should have done their junior year.”

She said that early in the year they started to sell pizza three times a week and are on schedule to have a car wash.

“We are doing as many fund-raisers as possible,” Wilkerson said. “We are going to do a car wash like the class of 2008 since the class of 2009 is choosing not to do one.”


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