Nonrefundable school events pose stress on students after COVID-19 cancellations

After students spend large amounts of money on school events, nonrefundable deposits are taking a toll on their wallets


Special to the Gazette / Lauren Thomas

As a result of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, Junior Prom, along with other school events, have been cancelled. Here, Lauren Thomas admires the dress she was planning to wear for Junior Prom.

Barely a month ago girls were frantically making arrangements for junior prom, spending weeks and typically a hefty amount of cash to find the perfect dress.  As events like prom only happen once throughout high school, many feel comfortable with investing a fair amount into them. What they didn’t and truly couldn’t foresee, however, was the coronavirus pandemic that would crush their prom dreams–and wallets.

In response to the growing widespread disease COVID-19, schools across the nation have decided to temporarily close until the situation is under control, including Granite Bay High School.  Unfortunately, with these school closures, school events inevitably have to be cancelled as well. For those who have already contributed money into such events, they not only have to worry about the alarming global pandemic striking their community, but also the money they are losing as a result.

Junior Brynna Hall is among many who looked forward to Junior Prom since freshman year.  As she was really eager for the “Enchanted Garden” theme, Hall stressed finding the ideal dress.  After weeks of searching, she finally came across the perfect dress–that was also three hundred dollars and nonrefundable.

“My dress meant a lot because it was perfect for the theme,” Hall said, “but most importantly, in order to be able to buy it, my parents and I all pitched in to the cost.  It meant a lot that they did that for me, and now I don’t even get the chance to wear it. It’s just so frustrating because it was such a pretty dress.”

Likewise, Lauren Thomas, also a junior, felt very disappointed upon hearing prom’s cancellation as she also spent money and time in order to find a dress she loved.

“I really, really liked my dress,” Thomas said, “and I spent a lot of time looking for a dress to go with the theme.  Even though shopping for the dress was a good experience, I feel like it was all a waste.”

In addition to Junior Prom, junior and senior girls had been looking forward to playing in Powderpuff in March. 

However, Powderpuff faced the same fate as Junior Prom, leaving the girls wondering if they would ever get the forty dollars they had paid for the program back.

Senior Hathamee Bensalem decided to try out Powderpuff for the first time this year in order to further benefit her overall senior experience. As she was dispirited by the loss of such a memorable event, she was also frustrated over paying money for nothing.

“I was really looking forward to playing Powderpuff this year and being with my teammates,” Bensalem said disheartedly, “and I paid forty dollars when Powderpuff isn’t even happening anymore.  Am I going to get my money back? I don’t know.”

I was really looking forward to playing Powderpuff this year and being with my teammates and I paid forty dollars when Powderpuff isn’t even happening anymore.”

— Hathamee Bensalem

While it’s easy to complain about the inconvenience of losing money as a result of numerous event cancellations, it is also important to sympathize with those who planned them.

Nicole Criscione, a senior and member of Student Government, was serving as the head commissioner for senior Powderpuff.  As she had begun preparing for the event ahead of time, she already completed all necessary purchases before school closure.  As a result, she has had to deal with the stress of trying to compensate for the money lost.

“The problem is that we aren’t able to get refunds at all,” Criscione said.  “Due to the current situation, businesses can’t give us refunds or else they would go out of business since everybody is trying to return stuff now.”

In response to students asking for refunds for Powderpuff, Criscione said it’s just not possible.

“We have already had people asking about getting their money back, and I’m just going to say it’s completely out of our control.  There is nothing we can do,” Criscione said. “There’s so many things happening right now that just can’t be fixed. In a normal situation where Powderpuff was cancelled, we would be able to refund, but this isn’t a normal situation.”

Criscione added that students who paid will still be given some of Powderpuff’s assets.

“We are offering everybody their t-shirts, however I know it’s not the same as wearing it at the game. It sucks,” Criscione said.

To make matters worse, as Student Government makes revenue through school events they plan, the lack thereof as a result of school closure will definitely have an impact on school events next year.

“ASB is losing a lot of money that is going to affect next year’s events,” Criscione said.  “I feel like it won’t be a large problem, but we probably aren’t going to have a lot of money for homecoming.”

While students can’t help but feel frustrated over the damage coronavirus is inflicting on monumental high school events, many also remember the greater importance of taking necessary precautions against the disease.

“I get that we are all going to be bummed out because we only get one high school,” Hall said, “but we are trying to facilitate the health of everyone, especially our elders who are dying from this disease.”

Karly Fernandez, a junior, added, “I do feel frustrated, but of course I understand the concern with preventing (COVID-19’s) spread. I guess there’s not much we can do about it.”