Is Prom overpriced?


Provided by Cal High class of 2023 Instagram

From left to right senior Alyssa Villarde, graduate Geneva Katharine, senior Mia Rabuco, senior Kylie Matek, senior Natalie Peete, senior Julia Rocha, senior Gaia Landsman, graduate Lisette Green, senior Noelani Ching posing for 2022 prom.

Prom is a staple of high school, something that all students look forward to as a celebratory culmination of all the work they’ve put in throughout the year.

But the fact of the matter is that this weekend’s prom costs $135 per person, which is $5 more a ticket than last year. With the cost of this event gradually rising each year, students are asking themselves the question: Is prom worth the price?

Prom and ball are one of the last times students are going to be able to bask in their youth before becoming young adults. This symbolizes the end of the carefree lives most high schoolers have right now and is something that should be cherished due to its rarity. 

This sentiment is no different when it comes to Cal High, whose prom will be occuring on March 25. Students alike enjoy the experience of school-hosted events, but the cost of these events have students questioning if it’s worth attending these dances. 

A single ticket for one person is $135, and a double ticket costs $270. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see that something is clearly off in the cost of tickets. Double tickets are going for the same price as two regular single tickets, which doesn’t give students any incentive to purchase them together since no deal is being offered.

In fairness to leadership and the Cal High administrators, outside companies have been hired to host the event. This means that the school has to spend a larger sum of money on third-party companies such as Events to the T, which is hosting this Saturday’s prom at Lake Chalet, a waterfront restaurant in Oakland. After adding in the costs of  food and drinks, DJs, and booking the venue, prom becomes quite an expensive event. 

Leadership adviser Troy Bristol oversees the process of hosting school dances and explained on the constantly changing prices of prom. Bristol clarified the differences from last year’s ticket sale to this year’s, explaining how this year’s tickets were set at $135 instead of increasing weekly as they have in the past.

This change was implemented to create a benchmark to make it possible for administrators to purchase everything they needed for the event. This explains why the cost of tickets isn’t $130 like last year at the beginning of sales, and wasn’t raised to a max of $160 the last week of sales.

But even taking into consideration how beneficial this change is to students, the general price of tickets is still quite high. Senior Ronit Prakash, last year’s leadership officer who was in charge of junior prom, has realized this problem. He said his goal was to keep prices for prom under $100 to make it more affordable for students, but that was unachievable.

One change most students are happy about is that any students from other high schools are welcomed back to the event as guests. Although guests were not able to purchase their own tickets, they can attend for the first time in two years if a Cal student purchases a ticket for them.

In 2021 no guests were allowed to prom or ball, and last year only students from San Ramon Valley Unified School District were allowed to attend.

In addition to the cost of tickets, students will be spending on other amenities to attend the dance. For example, quality dresses and suits, if not already possessed, can cost from $70 to $300. Limos and party buses, which are staples of high school prom, are another factor to take into the overall cost of prom.

Fortunately, the Cal class of 2024 Instagram has announced a fundraiser event with Men’s Warehouse to give students the opportunity to buy or rent clothes for a discounted price. This is a step in the right direction, giving students a chance to purchase quality clothes for less money.

All of these costly factors present strong evidence as to why students have argued that those who can’t afford to go shouldn’t stress about going to prom and instead save $135. But there’s only one chance to go to prom, and students should take it.