THE high school years are supposed to be the best years of school, but they're also the most expensive.
High school is a
In Japanese class last year I learned kanji. One of the kanji had a first character that represents "takai," meaning "high." "Ta kai" is also local slang for "expensive." Whenever I had to take a kanji test, I remembered the kanji for high school by association, coming up with "expensive high school."
The money starts slipping away at the start of the fall semester. We pay class dues, $6 to $8 depending on grade level, and buy yearbooks for about $30, before prices go up later in the year. That's already a lot of money.
Paying class dues is required if we want to go the school banquets, proms and other events.
Lunch is another expense. My monthly allowance is about $30. It costs 75 cents a day for lunch. That adds up to $15 a month. I eat lunch once a week to save $12. Once in a while I bring a snack or home lunch, but sometimes I just scab bread from a friend who's not planning to eat it.
"High" is representedAnd why do I try to save this money, you ask? High school life. When spring comes around, so does prom season. There's a lot of money involved there too, not just your own, but your parents'. My prom two weeks ago cost $221.
by the kanji, takai.
In local slang, "ta kai"
First, there are dresses and tuxes to buy or rent. Between renting and buying, I think girls should buy a dress. That way, if it needs to be altered, it's yours. It can always be used again for another occasion. Renting can also be more expensive than buying, depending on where you shop.
After you find the dress, there is the matter flowers. Bouquets for girls and maile lei for guys range from $12 to $50, or even more, depending on the style and types of flowers used. Pictures also cost a lot, but the cost of the picture package is usually split between couples.
HIGH school also has other activities such as band, sports and clubs, which often require travel. Castle Band this year went to Maui and another trip is being planned for next year. The baseball team went to Las Vegas to play in the Bishop Gorman Easter Baseball Classic.
Outer island teams come to Oahu to play the other high schools and vice versa. Clubs such as the Leo Club and Key Club have conventions, and Castle also participates in a home-stay program in Japan. I'm hoping to go next year as a senior, but that will be costly.
For all the activities above, there are fund raisers, but it's hard to sell different types of things to the same people in order to attend all these events.
Dating involves another expense not related to high school, but nevertheless, to people my age, it's just as important. It's sexist to say so, but it's "tradition" that the guy pays for the date. Although I pay every now and then, most guys I know feel like it's their duty or something to pay for movies and dinners.
Then there are the things high schoolers want, like cars, clothes and CDs.
Some people I know are obsessed with all colors of nail polish, when hey, pink is pink.
Others I know have their own cars and have to pay for gas. Sometimes even a minor thing, like choosing a CD, is hard. Do you buy the album or single? A single costs about $4 vs. an album for $12 to $16. What if you buy the album and it sucks?
The bottom line is, we all need jobs and we're enthusiastic, so don't turn us away when we come looking for work this summer.
Liane Kaneko is a junior at Castle High
and is having a trouble finding a summer job.
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