Cocke County parents say high graduation costs are too high

Cocke County parents say high graduation costs are too high

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"It probably came pretty close if it didn't top $1,000," said Newport mom Regina White. "It probably came pretty close if it didn't top $1,000," said Newport mom Regina White.
Many people choose to take their own photos or make their own invitations to save money. Many people choose to take their own photos or make their own invitations to save money.
One mom said she paid $67 for her child's cap and gown. One mom said she paid $67 for her child's cap and gown.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

NEWPORT (WATE) - High school graduation season can be a wonderful time, but it can also be pricey. From invitations, pictures, cap and gown, the costs add up.

For folks of limited means, it can put their finances in a bind.

The mom of a Cocke County high school senior sent 6 News this post on Facebook: 

"Personally, I think WATE should do a story on the OUTRAGEOUS FEES that Jostens charges for seniors. In Cocke County we paid $67 for cap and gown, senior portraits START at $69 for ONE 8 x 10 picture and if you want a package expect to pay $120 or more, if you order a senior package with announcements, etc you're looking at another $150+ dollars with some packages going as high as $365 - THAT'S CRAZY!!!!! Of course parents scramble to pay these fees because their kids are graduating and Jostens sticks it to us too!"

We took her concerns to other parents and most agreed.

"It probably came pretty close if it didn't top $1,000," said Newport mom Regina White.

White's daughter graduated from Cocke County High School last year and she has twins that will graduate next year.

"It is expensive," she said.

The only thing that is required for the Cocke County High School graduation ceremony is a cap and gown, and school officials say no student has ever gone to graduation without either.

"What we want if for all students to feel they are on the same playing field here and in doing that we have to accommodate children from all walks of life," said Cocke County High School Principal Marvin Stewart.

Stewart says if any family is having a difficult time, all they need to do is contact them. They will keep anything they tell them confidential.

Many parents have found ways to cut costs themselves.

"They can get about 50 graduation invitations for $69," said Newport printing owner Willie Green, "Which is very good."

At Newport Printing they offer invitations at half the price of normal invitations.

This is something Teresa Blackman, who has a Cocke County High School senior, decided to do.

"I had a friend of the family who helped with the picture, so that saved a lot right there," said Blackman.

Blackman says she saved $600 to $700.

"You don't have to buy everything," said White. "If the kid is OK without getting it, don't push it on him."

We also heard from, Josten, the company who provides most of the graduation items for Cocke County High School.

David Chivers, Jostens chief digital officer, released this statement:

"While graduation memorabilia are a discretionary purchase, they are an important way of commemorating a major life achievement, and a tradition that will stick around for generations to come. Jostens products are available at different price levels to offer students choices to commemorate their graduation experience.  In addition, Jostens works with its sales representatives and schools to offset these costs and on occasion, if available, will donate caps and gowns for students that need financial assistance."

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