School should communicate better with students


Lasirra Hines, Opinions Editor

It’s that time of year when seniors begin to buy their cap and gown, preparing to walk at graduation.

Jostens is the company that Manhattan High uses for the students to buy these, as well as other items such as a class ring, tassels, gifts and keepsakes. These items were promoted during a senior meeting where Jostens sales staff presented the products.

There are packages that students can buy, ranging from a “Mini” package costing $153.25 to the “Senior” package, costing $408. The “Most Popular” package, as it is promoted in Jostens literature, is the “Indians’ Package” for $244.00, while “Essential” Package costs $292.75. 

There are other options available to students who want to buy a cap and gown and not pay upwards of $300; however those options were not made apparent during the senior meeting.

The Mentor Editorial Board believes there should be stronger communication between the school administration and the students, especially when it comes to buying “necessary” items for them to walk at graduation. 

The school hasn’t communicated any other way to buy required attire for graduation. This only allows for Jostens to continue to prey on those that care the most about graduating, such as people whose kids will be the first to graduate high school or those who didn’t go to college. 

The administration is aware that there are alternatives, but the students are in the dark, not only with alternatives but also what they need to have so they can walk at graduation. Students are required to have a cap, gown, tassel and stole; the tassel and stole must be bought through Jostens, but the cap and gown does not need to be.

The way in which Jostens advertises their products comes off very predatory and targets the students, especially those with lower incomes, making it seem like they should pay $300 for an “Essential” package that has items in it that aren’t essential to graduation.  “Most Popular” and “Essential,” when looked at through a rhetorical lens, persuade customers to buy that package.

During a presentation with Jostens, a representative said that they are “Trying to make things affordable for you guys.” It’s clear that $300 isn’t pocket change for the majority of high school graduates or their family members, which therefore means it’s not affordable for everyone, only the select few who have a higher income.

There isn’t much that can be done in regards to the way Jostens advertises and the diction used. What can be done, however, is the school acknowledging the predatory marketing strategy and combating it.

The school is capable of clarifying that students don’t need to buy particular packages, even the one labeled “Essential,” and provide alternatives for them. Combating a monopoly company isn’t as difficult as it sounds, and it starts with awareness of predatory tactics and executing proper communication to the students so they don’t feel forced to buy from Jostens.