Philomath High School
Philomath High School families with Class of 2021 graduates received good news when it comes to costs of the attire. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The rising costs of graduation-related attire had accelerated beyond the comfort zone. Throw in a pandemic and many families living from unemployment check to unemployment check and the expense becomes a serious matter.

Philomath High School went looking for a better deal and dropped longtime provider Jostens. Mike Bussard shared details with the school board at last month’s regular meeting.

“We have moved on from Jostens and like a lot of other schools in the Willamette Valley, we have gone to a local company out of Eugene that is going to be our server,” Bussard said. “With that, we were able to reduce the cost of a cap, gown, stole and tassel from $64 to $37.”

And there’s more.

“This company is also working on helping meet the needs of some of our more underprivileged students,” Bussard added. “We have really enjoyed working with them thus far.”

On the surface, you might wonder why this might be a news item of interest, so I’ll provide some perspective on the matter.

Philomath High ended up with a controversy on its hands last year at about this time when Class of 2020 students balked at the idea of eliminating stoles as part of their graduation attire. The district had initiated the move to save money for families living on tight budgets and as part of a response to the rising costs of those items.

However, students circulated petitions and the issue received a lot of attention on social media. The stoles had been worn by PHS graduates since 1987 — except for 2002 when that class preferred medallions.

The high school reworked the idea and came up with a solution. The students were able to wear the stoles for graduation.

So, it’s safe to say that the PHS principal was happy to find a better deal. In fact, that’s what he told the school board.

“I’ve got to tell you, I was really excited about reducing the cost to almost in half — especially during these trying times when we have so many families that may be out of work or have been laid off,” Bussard said. “To reduce that price — and I know (Philomath Academy Principal) Dan (Johnson) felt the same way. It really warmed our hearts.”

(Daily Scoop is a blog published by the Philomath News. This blog often contains news items but also could include opinions of Brad Fuqua, publisher/editor).