Should Students Have to Fundraise for Prom?


Elena Sichel

(Artwork/Elena Sichel ’24)

Anya Gruteser, Online Staff Writer

In most American high schools, the end of the school year is marked by prom. It is a dance almost exclusively for seniors and juniors, allowing the students to celebrate their completion of the school year and have one last night with their classmates before the seniors’ graduation. In previous years at PDS, there was a system in place that required the junior class to fundraise for prom. But this year, juniors are not required to gather the money; the job is on the Parent Association. With this recent system change, a question has arisen: should students have to fundraise for prom?

Senior Ziya Brittingham, Upper School Student Council President, was part of the fundraising process for last year’s prom. When asked about her opinion on fundraising, she says, “It teaches students more about money management and time management. I feel like at PDS, we have a lot of privilege, and when you have so much privilege, sometimes your perception of how the world works can get clouded.” Brittingham believes that having to put in work in order to raise funds for something is a valuable learning experience for many students at PDS. Through fundraising, students can learn skills like goal setting, leadership, and financial awareness. However, she also acknowledges that there is a chance that the junior class is not able to raise enough money. But if that occurs, Brittingham claims that there is a safety net: the Parent Association. Her class relied on this “safety net” when COVID-19 affected the number of fundraisers they were able to have. Brittingham concludes, “It’s just such a good learning opportunity that’s not necessarily curriculum but more real-world learning experience.” To her, the lessons learned and experiences gained throughout the fundraising process make the underlying pressure to raise enough money to host a prom worth it. 

This year, the fundraising system for prom changed. Instead of the junior class fundraising for prom, the responsibility for raising money is on the Parent Association. Now, juniors only help plan the event alongside seniors in the party planning committee. When asked whether he wishes he were part of the fundraising process, Tyler Nelson, Junior Class President, says, “I think it would be a lot of stress. And me personally, I would not want to be part of the process.” Even though he agrees that the fundraising would be a beneficial life-skill learning moment for students, he believes the pressure to raise enough funds would only add more stress to the already busy juniors. He states, “I think the idea of … if we don’t raise enough money we can’t have a prom … is very scary.” For Nelson, the potential benefits of fundraising aren’t worth the additional stress and pressure everyone would be under. 

Whether the funds for prom were raised by the students or by the Parent Association, the most important part is that there is a prom. While it could be argued that juniors are missing out on valuable experiences by not fundraising for prom, it could also be said that they are being relieved of unnecessary stress.