Yolanda Crowder is like any other proud parent as we approach the end of a school year. Her daughter is expected to graduate from Madison High School next week...Everything for the Crowders was going as planned until she received an unexpected call from her daughter Wednesday afternoon.
Crowder says, "this is very surprising and she sent me a text message and also called me crying because they're gonna hold her up."
Fox 26 news obtained two letters sent to parents at James Madison High School. They warn parents their children will not be allowed to take part in their graduation ceremony if they don't pay a so called Senior Celebration Fee...This will be a totally separate fee from those associated with caps and gowns for the graduation. The $125 Celebration fee - which two letters indicate is 'mandatory' - pays for a class t-shirt, certificate covers, and a church honorarium to name a few.
Well, here's what we found out about that $125 celebration fee...While all the letters sent from Madison High school indicate it is mandatory, officials from HISD say the senior celebration fee is actually optional. Spokesperson Denise Cantu says it will not keep students from participating in the commencement ceremony if they don't pay....However, Cantu says parents should know the fee is optional if they're active with their child's school...That's even though the notice reads: The senior celebration fees must be apid in order to participate in the commencement ceremony.
Crowder, who says she is active at her daughter's schoo,l read the same letter I did and walked away with the same understanding.
She says, "If you don't pay it you won't be participating."
Madison High School made a mistake in the letter provided to the parents of graduating seniors. As is the case for every high school in HISD, any student that is eligible to graduate will be allowed to participate in the commencement ceremony and the inability to pay for any type of graduation fees will not prevent them from graduating. If a student does not have sufficient funds for a cap and gown, the school will assist.