Senior Flex Breaks the Bank

$3 here, $3 there– it adds up.

Leah+Joseph+is+all+smiles+with+her+Dunkin+iced+coffee.+Mr.+McCarthy...+not+so+much.+

Riley Towle

Leah Joseph is all smiles with her Dunkin’ iced coffee. Mr. McCarthy… not so much.

Riley Towle, Staff Writer

Senior year rolls around, and all of a sudden students have the freedoms they have been dreaming of. However, these dreams can quickly turn into a nightmare for the bank account. One of these freedoms includes the beloved Open Campus. 

According to the Sutton High School 2021-2022 Handbook, “The Senior Privilege [Open Campus] allows a senior to meet the necessary criteria to leave school grounds during unassigned time… The senior pass is an extension of freedom awarded to seniors who demonstrate by their good grades and citizenship that they are mature, responsible young adults who have earned the opportunity to exercise their good judgment in the use of their unassigned time” (student handbook). 

While at school, seniors do not have to report to one specific area for their SPPs like juniors do. Seniors have access to the library, independent study with a teacher, or the option to leave campus after signing out in the Guidance Office. 

It is common for seniors to go on a Starbucks or Dunkin’ run during their SPP and return to school with trays full of coffees to give out to their friends. These small treats, however, when purchased daily, become quite costly. 

America runs on Dunkin’, and so do seniors at Sutton High. (Michael Zibell)

According to the Dunkin’ menu, a medium iced coffee costs just under $3. This of course, is without any added flavorings or additional requests. Starbucks has similar pricing–the price of the “extra jazz” that most high schoolers add to their coffees is not added in. 

Also consider money spent on gas– gas stations throughout Worcester County are currently averaging a whopping $3.85 per gallon. When you do the math, that’s about $20 per week spent on trips to the drive-thru– over $500 for the whole school year if you make the trip daily. That’s a bit steep for someone who is attempting to save funds for their future. 

I personally do not flex out during my SPP because I caught onto early in the year the affect it had on my wallet. The seniors of the E Block SPP are no strangers to the Dunkin’ drive-thru, so I spoke to them to hear their opinions on the senior privilege and the impact it has on their wallets.

Senior Gavin Acocelli knows the consequences, but enjoys having the freedom: “I find it a time where I can socialize but I’m still suffering the consequences of paying for the meal. So, in that way, it does become costly, but I would say it’s worth the cost. On days where I don’t have SPP, I’m definitely saving money.” 

Fellow senior Audrey Hayes has a similar mindset, “I spend more money when I go out for SPP, but it makes me happy and gives me that break from school to be with my friends and have a change of environment. Being all together with my friends in SPP influences me wanting to leave. I don’t like always spending my money on Dunkin’, but I feel like I choose to do that as a reward and a break from school.” 

Those lucky enough to have an SPP around lunchtime have the ability to flex out for lunch, giving them an extra 30 minutes of freedom. To some, this is a perfect opportunity to treat themselves to eating lunch outside of school. 

Jake Corrente weighs in on having an SPP scheduled around lunch: “It depends on who you are. You have the people who are heavy spenders at the drive thru or people who don’t want to eat lunch at school and want to get lunch somewhere else instead. Next thing you know, you’re spending $9 on a hamburger from Five Guys instead of getting a free lunch from your house or the school.” 

Despite the financial burden that flex causes students, it seems to be worth every penny for the cherished experiences and memories that seniors create together. After all, a dollar can always be made back, but these memories are irreplaceable.