Senior Year Memories Aren't Cheap

Senior Year Memories Aren't Cheap

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High school senior year is filled with memorable events to mark the graduation milestone, but making those memories means opening up your wallet.

Pinky Jennings knows all too well about the cost of a senior year of high school. Her daughter, Claire, is a senior at Watertown High.

"You have to get a yearbook, we already know that," Jennings said, "plus, of course, being a senior so you have to get a page in the yearbook. She's going to a trip sometime next year, yeah that and of course you're looking forward to prom."

One of the first things students have to worry about are senior pictures. Gary Burns, who owns Burns Photography, has been a professional photographer for 40 years. 

He says he charges anywhere from $49 to $1,200 for senior pictures. Although, over the past five years, that part of his business has changed.

"I'd have kids bringing five, six outfits and props, guitars, sports and stuff," he said. "Now, a lot of the kids don't want to bother, they've got friends that are taking some of their pictures outside and doing some simpler, you know, more casual type of things."

Once high school is over, many seniors go on college. College applications are a must and that means paying a fee. 

Julie Hughmaster is a guidance counselor at Watertown. She says application fees can range from $50 up to $80 for places like Cornell University. 

Hughmaster says some families do qualify to have those fees waived.

"Since the fees have gone up, SUNYs have recognized that and they have actually upped the number of schools that you can apply to for free with a fee waiver," she said. "It has gone from, I believe it was four, it's now up to seven SUNY applications."

Even though it's months away, Cathy Lettiere, who owns Touch of Grace Bridal Shop in Watertown, says girls are already thinking about prom. In her shop, dresses range from $99 to $500 or more.

She says there's a reason the cost for some dresses are so high.

"A lot of it has to do with material and the stones, the real crystal stones, the designer name, of course, Jovani or Sherri Hill."

Jennings said these are just some of the things she has to pay for. Her daughter is also on the varsity swim team, so that means paying for things like bathing suits and a $400 summer swim camp.

There are ways to lessen some of the costs.

Guidance counselors can tell you if you can waive college application fees. For prom, you can rent dresses or tuxedos -- there are some places that give away donated dresses.

One 7 News reporter borrowed her cousin's dress, so that's an option, too.

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