Money issues create opportunity gap among students

Sophomore Manual Costa, like many at Davis High, pays for his Winter Ball ticket, but for some, this is not an affordable luxury.
Sophomore Manual Costa, like many at Davis High, pays for his Winter Ball ticket, but for some, this is not an affordable luxury.

By Emma Juchau and Sabreen Rashmawi, Staff–

Davis tends to be considered a relatively prosperous town, however not all the people residing in Davis have money to spend on things like dances, field trips and eating out.

According to a survey taken of teachers Rachel Doller and Fern O’Brien’s World Civilizations classes, 76 percent of students believe that there is an expectation in Davis for students and their families to be able to pay for school events.

“Sports, academics, they all cost money. SATs and AP tests cost money and equipment for sports cost quite a lot as well,” sophomore Lauren Duan said.

“I think in Davis [poverty] is a lot more hidden, so I think the expectation is of course, you’re paying for stuff because we live in a much more affluent community than a lot of other students do,” teacher Eric Morgan said.

Seventy percent of students said that they think there is an expectation, between friends, to be able to pay for social events such as lunch out, shopping or a trip to the movies.

“You don’t want to be a burden,” one anonymous student said in their survey.

“For me personally, it’s going shopping with someone who can spend all the money they want but I know that I, and a lot of other people, can’t do that,” Duan said.
However, others don’t necessarily see the pressure.

“Everyone brings their own money, and if one person doesn’t bring it everybody helps,” sophomore Miles Herget said.

Seven percent of students reported that they have skipped a school event because they couldn’t afford it, according to the same survey.

“I actually heard a couple kids talking about the dance and how expensive it was… for some people, I know that [money] dissuades them from doing stuff like that,” Herget said.

“I do think people feel pressured to go to prom or senior ball and such. The cost of the dress or tuxedo is actually a lot, but people still feel like they need to go because it is the socially acceptable thing,” Duan said.

There are several ways a student can get financial help through school. The DHS Blue and White Foundation “raises money for Davis High, its staff, students and facilities,” Blue and White Foundation President Karen Mattis said.

However, supporting DHS students in their endeavors can be an expensive process.

“We raise money from donations, sponsorships, and events such as the annual Blue and While Golf Tournament,” Mattis said.

According to Morgan, “The class has to fund-raise enough money that people who can’t pay can still go.” Classes are responsible for making sure that everyone who wants to go on a class trip can, whether they can afford to pay for it or not.

For students eligible for the free and reduced lunch program, getting financial aid is as simple as a trip to the counselor’s office.

“[Students in the free and reduced lunch program] can get scholarships for various things and they can always come to their counselor if they need something,” head counselor Courtenay Tessler said.

Tessler recognizes that there are plenty of generous people in Davis who are willing to help kids who need some financial aid.

“I’ve had people that have given money for dresses and shoes to make sure that everybody has an equal, wonderful [Senior Ball],” Tessler said.

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