The price of graduation
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For many RHS seniors, graduation represents the culmination of four years of hard work. However, students pay to graduate in more ways than just the effort expended earning the necessary grade requirements. There is also a monetary cost.
Each year, students are required to purchase graduation robes from the company Herff-Jones, who sell a variety of senior regalia to Robinson, including class rings and graduation packages.
This year, Robinson’s administration has created custom robes, which have the Knights logo embroidered onto the right sleeve and the initials “RHS” embroidered onto the left sleeve.
“We wanted something that would really allow us to stand out,” Assistant Principal for Administration Nikki Lockett said. “Most of the graduations, they’re kind of cookie-cutter… [robes] allow us as schools to have some individualism.”
The custom Robinson graduation robes are $70, with students who order their robes later in the year subject to an additional fee.
“I feel like [the price of robes] is pretty reasonable,” Ivy Bunnell (’19) said. “If you order it early, it’ll be cheaper. If you order it at graduation time, then it will be more expensive.”
While the price of graduation robes has remained constant at Robinson over the past several years, this cost still puts Robinson at the higher end of the spectrum for graduation robe pricing. At many other schools, robes are closer to $30 or $40 in cost.
For some students, the high price tag of these one-use cap and gowns can be frustrating.
“I think it’s kind of expensive for something I will wear once in my life,” Natasha Truong (’19) said. “I have a twin sister, so we both have to buy one each.”
Although in theory purchasing a set of new graduation robes is mandatory, each year some students plan to wear second-hand robes from siblings or friends instead.
Robinson’s policy on whether or not students are allowed to wear second-hand graduation robes is ambiguous, especially with the added complications of custom robes this year.
“We’ve always discouraged sharing or recycling,” said avid teacher and senior coordinator Kristina Chowning said. “This year… we can’t recycle the robes because we are having custom robes made for us.”
Lockett disagreed. “We don’t discourage them from using robes that maybe a sibling had or that maybe they are able to borrow from someone else,” she said.
While the administrators may have conflicting answers about whether or not students are permitted to wear second-hand robes to campus, they all stress Robinson’s commitment to finding solutions for whom the purchase of graduation robes presents a financial obstacle.
“We make sure to allow all students to be able to participate in graduation if they choose so,” Lockett said. “If a kid has a situation, let someone know what’s going on and we’ll find resources to make it happen.”
Alanna Felton is a senior and the Editor-in-Chief of the journalism staff. She is also president and founder of the RHS Young Writers’ Club and an officer...