Editorials and Opinions

Opposing Viewpoints: Winning money for prom was a selfish indulgence

By Leigh Alon
Published: April 2010

Every senior looks forward to his or her senior prom. Sure, some people may belittle it or put it down as just another contrived school event, but there’s no denying that prom is a fundamental part of senior year and high school.

Recently South seniors competed in a voting contest to win money to support funding for our prom. Students visited a designated website and typed in a passcode, thereby voting to support Newton South. By the end of the assigned time period whichever school received the most votes won the prize money. Guess who won? We did.

We outvoted Danvers High School. We worked hard to beat them. It took hundreds of Facebook messages and prolonged procrastination. We deserved to win, but Danvers deserved to win more.

As students at Newton South High School, few of us have ever been exposed to real economic hardship. Single-mother, welfare, and food stamps are almost unheard of. Keep in mind that I am making vast generalizations. There are, to be sure, some South students who face these issues on a day-to-day basis. The majority, however, myself included, has been sheltered from real economic strife. We groan if we can’t have the car for the week; we kick and scream if we are unable to make a weeklong service trip to Timbuktu; and we’d die if anyone else were to wear the same designer prom dress.
Senior class officers, including Chenzhe Cao who even committed to bleaching his hair to motivate kids to vote, worked extremely hard to get the senior class behind the competition. They were very committed and succeeded in effecting a positive change.

Without a doubt the competition as a whole became and advertised event that ultimately was able to bring the whole school together. Through countless Facebook messages, little post-its by the library computer reminding everyone to vote, and the constant nagging from multiple seniors, the class of 2010 was able to gather the whole school in an intercity competition in order to give Newton South additional funds to buy decorations from prom. We definitely had the right to compete.

According to the census of 2000, the median income for a family in Danvers was $70,565. The median income for a family in Newton, however, was a whopping $104,493. Families in Danvers are in no way impoverished, but relatively, we seem undeserving of extra money. And what about all the other schools that competed for the money? Was it just tough luck for them too?

Personally, I think that it is our responsibility to be helping out these other schools that aren’t as well funded as our own. Of course, free stuff is good, and yes, people are reluctant to compensate for what we can’t earn though freebies like this competition through the form of donations and additional fundraising, but in reality, we have one up on most of the schools we beat out.

Had we not won the competition, no we would not have had an extra $1,000 to splurge on and already exorbitant prom, but we would have had the resources to reimburse what we could have potentially earned from the voting contest. On the contrary, many of the other competing schools do not even have the resources to pay for a prom.

If we really wanted to bring together our school and our community, we would have everyone help out in fundraising for the prom. In reality, we don’t need the $1,000 offered by the competition: other schools do. Sure these competitions are a fun and quick way to earn big money, but it really just isn’t fair to the other schools.

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