Lauryn Hughes | staff writer
When it comes to the expense of school activities, it can sometimes be overwhelming. Some programs at Johnson, like band and cheer, have assistance available for students to help ease the financial burden these activities can create. Students shouldn’t be discouraged from getting involved because of financial restraint.s
“Participation in band ranges from $250, for those who only do concert band, to $1250, for those who do the competitive marching band. Sometimes there are additional trips we will attend that might raise the fee,” band director Jarrett Lipman said.
Band helps students by hosting fundraisers and setting up sponsorships that bring in enough money to lower band costs.
“Our band parent association fundraises aggressively to help students lower costs,” Lipman said. “We run eight to ten fundraisers a year including; HEB Cards, Honeybaked Hams, Entertainment Books, Butter Braids, and the Benefit Mobile App are a few. Many students in band fundraise all of their fees and never pay. We also have some students who work part time jobs. Additionally, we have families who have graduated out who donate money to help with sponsorships for some families based on merit or need.”
To apply for financial assistance for band there are some of the requirements to be eligible.
“Students apply through an appointment with the band director if they have need. We offer assistance specifically to three types of student:
- Students on free or reduced lunch
- Merit based – students who earn a chair in All State or 2 years in middle school all region, and may need assistance with lessons or fees
- Multiple siblings – families with 3 or more students in band,” Lipman said.
Other school programs like cheer also offer financial assistance.
“Uniforms, competition fees, travel, meals, etc is about 4000.00 per athlete. This does not include private lessons etc. to help keep up tumbling skills and fundamentals to stay current on all levels,” parent and cheer mom Christina Lambert said. Lambert has been a “cheer mom” for about 14 years.
Like band, the cheer program also runs fundraisers to help gain revenue.
“The only way a cheerleader receives help for finances is through their own efforts in fundraising opportunities, or getting businesses to sponsor, grandparents, aunts etc.,” Lambert said.
Some of the fundraises cheer hosts are candle and calendar sales.
“We have so many opportunities throughout the year to generate income into individual accounts through fundraising,” Lambert said. “Parents can help sell concession at home JV and freshman games. We sell candles, pies, and many other items. Our biggest fundraiser is now at the beginning of the new team year selling calendar ads to different businesses. A cheerleader or dancer can pay for their whole cheer season if the effort is put forward to sell these ads during the summer.”
Students can apply for cheer financial aid though the cheer director.
“There are scholarships for hardships the spirit club has that an athlete can apply for through the cheer director. This is one a first come first serve basis and is only available is the spirit club has the extra funds. There are not scholarships per say that anyone can apply for in general there has to be a verifiable hardship, student must be in good standing with grades, school, team, etc,” Lambert said.
Overall there are multiple ways Johnson programs work to reduce the cost of activities and fees, but financial aid can be obtained if help is still needed.
“I will end by saying that cheer has a little funding , now that we do the side by side program with UIL the district will help pay for uniforms that are required for this separate state contest. All other parts of cheer, competitions, mats, supplies, game day uniforms is paid fully by the parents payments , alongside any fundraising we do to contribute to the general fund. General fund helps offset costs of food, travel, and things that the girls need as the season goes along. So there are other fundraisers that we do that don’t affect directly an individual’s account , but helps offset some of the costs so that the season isn’t more than it is now. But the average is about $4000 per girl a year out of parents pockets if no fundraising is done. Even after items have been paid by general fund,” Lambert said.