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The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

The Student News Site of Santa Maria High School

The Breeze

How Expensive Is It To Be A Senior In 2024?

Graduation is right around the corner with exiting events to rile up the Seniors, but how may these events dig holes in your wallets (or purses)?

As the year approaches it’s dreadful end, we come across activities that can be exclusive to seniors.


A ticket given to those who purchased a prom ticket at the business office. It contains information on the back on where prom will be located and the time doors open. (You will need your school ID to enter, these tickets will not be accepted) (Oswaldo Hernandez-Perez)

Prom is known as a once in a lifetime experience. Everyone only gets to attend Highschool once, and going to prom is part of the experience. The average prom tickets range from $50 to $120 depending on the school. According to Mr. Salazar the ASB Director Saint Joseph’s Highschool is selling prom tickets for $250.

In a response to an email Alexis Swanson, the ASB Director of Saint Joseph’s Highschool states, ” Our prom tickets are $200 per student and that includes the cost of the bus, the venue (up to 1 hr away), dinner, dj, photobooth, etc. Our prom is a secret to our students. On the day of prom, the students arrive to our school, they get on the bus, they get transported to the venue (in the past we have gone to Paso Robles & Santa Barbara), where they have a full dinner followed by photobooth and dancing. At the end of the night, the students get back on the bus and get transported back to school.”

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Prom ticket sales by week:

Ticket sales for the first week: $65 

April 22nd – 26th: $70

April 29th – May 17th: $75

May 20th – 23rd: $80

When finding out the price of Prom tickets, Jacob Cabrera, a Senior at SMHS asked, “Why are we paying $65? For the light bill?”

Outside of the price of the tickets, there are other assets that go into prom. Prom dresses can cost upwards of $200 and tux rentals at $65. There is also the fancy dinner before the event that can’t be more than $100. There is also “promposals:” How are you going to prom without asking someone out in a glamorous way first?

Ms. Taylor, one of the Senior class advisors (along with Ms. Clabough), says this about the prom pricing: “Our pricing this year started at $65, the reason why it is that price is because historically that is the budget our school goes for. This year’s prom includes the typical Elks lodge, along with a dance floor, soda bar, red carpet with photography, and a bling photo booth. Most of the expenses are going towards an out of town DJ, the first prom with a Dessert truck, so you’re realistically paying for a $200 dance, but we reduced to a price that is affordable for students. Righetti has their price down to $45.We really want to make sure that our prom is accessible and everyone has equal opportunity to attend.”

The DJ will also accept requests from students via Instagram so look out for that on their Instagram. (SMHS 2024 Instagram)

More information on prom here.

Year Book  – $95

The yearbook is an important part of any High School students social life. Back in the day it would be a way for students to stay in touch after graduation. Nowadays, it is just as important, it holds the senior class photo, senior pictures, and (in some yearbooks) senior quotes. Does this make the pricing reasonable?

Yearbook advisor Mr. Salazar had this to say about the pricing of the yearbook, “At first it was $80 but we were losing money. Then we raised it to $85 and still weren’t making enough money. Until we settled at $90. We paid for the cover ourselves because we had extra money from previous sales.”

Panoramic Senior Picture – $30 

The panoramic photo of the senior class of 2024 taken at the home side bleachers. (Adrian Salazar)
Cap and gown for SMHS seniors to buy on Jostens.com
Product from Jostens.com

The panoramic senior picture was one of the events seniors had a chance to participate in while the rest of the school took the CAASPP. More information on the CAASPP here.

The business office is currently selling a physical copy of the picture. We simply took it from the home page of the school’s website. We encourage you to find any breeze staff seniors throughout the picture (Like where’s waldo)

Cap & Gown – $45 (at the business office)

A graduation requirement is wearing a cap and gown no matter the weather. SMHS uses the Jostens website to provide any memorabilia from caps and gowns to class rings. They are

More info on where to buy a cap and gown here. 

Gradnite Tickets – $295

Gradnite is an event in which students are driven down to the Disneyland Resort with their friends and not having to worry about crying children or absurdly long lines. This year there were 3 buses able to fit 150 students and 4th bus was available for those who weren’t able to buy it the first time.

We asked Mr. Paulus, Math teacher at SMHS about the pricing for Gradnite, here’s what he has to say “We try to keep the cost to as low as possible. In prior years, the cost would be around $175 and nowadays its closer to $209. One of the major costs is the bus because of the gas and all that. Before the bus would cost $2,600 and now its closer to $4,000. We also provide food for the way there and back. The main reason for the cost being so high would be because of the economy.”

A picture from the Disneyland Resort website. According to the caption, tickets for Gradnite are currently on sale at the business office. Only 10 spots left!
Photo credits to DisneylandResort.org

In an interview with senior Jason Maldonado, he spent $295 on a ticket to gradnite and claims,  “As of right now, I don’t regret it (purchasing a Gradnite ticket). I am very excited because I’ve never been to Disneyland.”

Students should typically be bringing extra spending money for souvenirs or food. ($200 recommended)

More info on Gradnite here.


Gradweek – $1629

Logging on to the Gradweek website, we found that the total price for an individual student to attend Gradweek comes out to $1629. The description states that the trip includes six days/five nights at an unknown hotel (Parents are stated to stay at the Alohilani Hotel). It is also a roundtrip airfare.

The Instagram page for Gradweek states that deposits to secure a spot started way back in February 21st, 2023.

Students should also bring extra money for food or souvenirs from Hawaii.

More info on Gradweek here.

Total Price for living your best senior life ~ $2159

Most of these senior activities are optional, other than the cap and gown (because how are you going to show up to graduation normally dressed), and that could really make the expenses come down to a little over $50 (sash and tassel not included with cap and gown unit). It’s all about the memories, being able to enjoy the last year of Highschool to the fullest. I believe that students shouldn’t need to show up for graduation, it’s mainly for the parents who are proud of their students. The prices for outside of school trips are a bit excessive in my opinion and prom dresses are expensive as heck, but it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity so carpe diem or whatever.

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Oswaldo Hernandez-Perez
Hey! My name is Oswaldo Hernandez-Perez, but you can call me Waldo. This is my last year at Santa Maria High School as I am now a senior. I enjoy listening to music and filming my friends skating on my free time. I haven't written anything too promising lately, but I am excited to write a lot about our community and school this year. I feel confident that I will be able to contribute to the breeze in a helpful manner. I have experience in filming and I would love to interview people about their thoughts on our community. I am currently taking journalism because I am interested in writing stories and informing others on news and whatnot. I feel honored to be a part of The Breeze this year. I appreciate Mrs. Van D for giving me a third chance to one of her many classes lmao.  
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