“I could buy two Jeffree Star palettes for that price!” exclaimed junior Toni Keller in response to hearing that a ticket to prom is $70 for anyone who is not a senior. She is not the only one who is outraged. Many people, especially juniors, are wondering why the tickets are so expensive, especially in contrast to the $30 senior ticket price. So where did that $40 gap come from? And why $70?
The senior class of 2019, as Avonews reported in the second print edition this year, is one of the richest senior classes to date. Most of these funds were acquired through their junior class fashion show. Through hard work and fundraising, they were able to out-raise many senior classes before them. So it was to be expected that this year’s prom dance would be spectacular. However, the funds do not go directly to prom. The senior class is also responsible for paying for the homecoming dance, senior hoodies and senior picnic.
The senior class chose to host the prom at Heinz Field, which although very beautiful, is not an inexpensive venue. Prices for the venue run around $16,500 with the food minimum, so dinner is priced at $100 per person. Included in that price is an appetizer salad, an entree, and at the end of the night a snack and dessert bar.
Something unexpected was additive costs on top of the base venue and dinner costs that were not expressly clear to the class officers at the beginning. According to Abby Stewart, senior class co-vice president, the additive costs are a 20% gratuity rate, 7% tax, $200 per security guard, table set up and clean up, party planner, and TV and AV. Adding all of these costs together the lowest price for the venue is $23,500. The school got the venue tax-exempt, and the senior class changed to a cheaper dinner option. So everything all in, the cost of the venue ended up being in the upper 20,000s.
The reality of the ticket price is that everyone who buys a ticket is only paying for their dinner. In addition, all students who are not seniors are getting 30% off of their meal, and seniors are getting 70% off.
This math still leaves a large gap between the senior ticket prices and the flat rate for everyone else. According to Mrs. Sebolt and Mrs. Chester, two of the senior class sponsors, keeping the ticket price as low as possible for everyone was very much a priority in planning the dance. However, the senior tickets took priority over the flat rate. Mrs. Sebolt has found the national average of a prom ticket to be between $70 and $100. She said that they were comfortable with the price they landed on in the end because it is the low end of that national average.
However, this price may still be a little bit too much for some students to afford. When asked to comment on this, Mrs. Sebolt enthusiastically reminded us about financial help for prom. This is something that has existed in the past but has resurfaced to the public recently. If any student is having trouble affording to go to prom they can talk to or email Mrs. Sebolt, Ms. George, or any of the school’s administration. This team of people has helped students in the past by providing reduced price tickets, free tickets, and sometimes have even helped students afford prom dresses.
So although the tickets may be $70 students are really getting a lot of bang for their buck. And if the benefits still don’t outweigh the cost, there is a team of people who are happy to try and help.