Grad Nite Explained

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Grad Nite Explained

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Grad Nite is approaching quickly for Bell High seniors and some students were confused about refunds, their deposits, and the price. Students that were able to give $20 or more as a deposit to hold their seat had until Friday, March 15th to pay the full ticket or lose their seat on the bus and their deposit.  

A representative of the administration, and PTO member said that students would not be receiving their money back “because the downpayment is to reserve your spot.” She also said that students should not have put the money down if they couldn’t afford it. “We are like every other place you’d do a deposit with.”

An announcement made on March 12th stated that if over 50% of tickets were not sold then the school would be forced to cancel the event. Luckily the school sold over 300 tickets paid in full and the event was not canceled. Our administration representative stated that if the event was canceled that everyone would receive a full refund of whatever money they put down.   

@Bellhighseniors2k19 did an Instagram post trying to explain the situation but unfortunately their post only confused people more. It seemed to state that if the event was cancelled only students who put down the full $180 would get a refund, and students who put down deposits would not receive anything back. Our administration representative said there was a misuse of words, and that if the event was to be cancelled everyone would receive a refund, regardless of how much money they put down.

One senior student said that it was never made clear in the first place that they would not be getting their deposit back if they couldn’t pay the whole thing by a specific deadline. “They should have said it more. If I knew I wouldn’t get my money back I wouldn’t have put down the deposit.”  The administration disagrees, stating they believe that every child was told this, although students did not have to sign anything and were not given any form to go over explaining this.

To prevent situations like this from happening in future years, the refund policy should be posted on the school website, or students should have to sign a paper explaining what they are paying for. It should be made clear that there will be no refunds for deposits that aren’t paid off. If this is done then students won’t be able to say that they weren’t informed and they won’t feel like they are being scammed.

Gloria Huerta said it wasn’t made 100% clear that students would not receive their money back.  “They could have made an announcement about that before kids started to put down deposits, or given us some kind of paper… we were told that if we didn’t pay the full thing we would lose our seat, not our money.”

The administration explained the expenses of Grad Nite including park hopper tickets,  buses, insurance coverage, and a small portion that goes toward The High Honors Banquet – an annual event to showcase the school’s top 75 students. Money students lost if they didn’t pay off their deposit by the 15th also goes partly towards the High Honors Banquet which some students are not happy about. In addition to using a small portion of Grad Nite money for the High Honors banquet, the PTO also hosts other fundraisers like pupusa sales throughout the year to fund the banquet. According to administration, “No one is forcing kids to participate if they don’t want to or think it’s unfair.” They stated that students giving money for their Grad Night ticket is all done voluntarily.

    “If they want to have an event for those students, money should be raised for those students,” said one Bell senior. Another senior,  Gloria Huerta, said “that’s not fair because that’s not what I gave my money for. [Administration] should have told kids straight forward that some of their money was going to be used towards something else other than Grad Night.”  

       Ultimately students putting down a deposit for a Grad Night ticket signaled their intent to pay the full price in order to go. However, they weren’t explicitly told that their money wouldn’t be returned if they couldn’t manage to pay the full price on time and that they were helping to fund the High Honors banquet, an event many students don’t even know about.  

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