Burbank High School students wanting to graduate on campus this May have less than two weeks to raise $13,600 to make that goal a reality.
Michael Bertram, the school’s principal, said he pushed back a March 15 fundraising deadline by two weeks so that efforts could continue to collect the $36,000 necessary to host the year-end ceremony.
“I was able to extend it until the end of March because some of the vendors were cooperative and able to give us a little more time,” Bertram said.
Chief fundraiser Ani Pakhanyan said her group of Burbank High parents had raised $22,400 as of Tuesday through a variety of fundraisers and the group’s PayPal account paypal.me/2019bhsgraduation.
“We’ve come a long way, and we’ve raised $22, 400, but we need about $13, 600 [more],” Pakhanyan said. “We’re going to have some fundraisers coming up, and we’re going to keep trying until the last day.”
Bertram set a new deadline of March 29 and hinted he might not be able to push any later than that.
“It’s a matter of committing or putting deposits down for the bleachers, for instance,” he said. “Also, when is it appropriate for me to be able to cancel without losing a deposit?”
He added, “We’ve got to make decision whether we’re going to rent or not.”
Burbank seniors, their parents and family have been fundraising since February to earn $36,000 to host the graduation rather than have the event at Memorial Field, located on the same grounds as archrival Burroughs High School, as was originally suggested by district staff in December and where the event will be held if the financial goal is not met.
Pakhanyan has set up fundraisers, beginning with a “Taco Tuesday” in the campus quad starting at 3 p.m.
“We’ve made between $700 and $1,000 on the last two and have had many students show up,” Pakhanyan said. “Now we just need to get the public involved.”
On Wednesday, the group will host an all-day fundraiser at Blaze Pizza, 1723 N. Victory Place, during which 50% of the proceeds will be donated to Burbank High.
“I’m planning on being there all day, from opening to closing,” Pakhanyan said. “You don’t need a receipt or anything, just mention at the counter that your purchase is for BHS and it will count.”
While Pakhanyan is hoping for one last surge to get to $36,000, she ran into one hindrance this week.
“This week killed us, to be honest, to be on spring break,” Pakhanyan said since many families are out of town. “We can’t really squeeze in any fundraisers.”
A group of seniors, led by class president Aleko Brice, has been pushing for an on-campus graduation rather than one at Burroughs.
The $36,000 figure is the expected difference after Burbank High sells extra graduation tickets and receives its budget share of district funds.
Last year, Burbank High’s graduation came at a bill of $60,416, while Burroughs’ graduation at Memorial Field totaled $26,237.
Two of the big drivers in the cost differential between graduations were police services and the building of a needed platform, which costs $21, 687 more at Burbank High than it does at Memorial Field.