For the 2010-2011 school year, students who participate in Caswell Scholars, an extra-curricular non-credited class series, are required to pay an annual $25 participation fee to cover the cost of field trips, materials, speakers and other expenses. Director of Middle School and Co-coordinator of the Caswell Scholars Program Robert Bryan attributes this fee to the increased number of courses offered since the start of the program in 2006.
“As the program has grown and more of the courses have required costs, it has become necessary to charge a fee in order to cover those costs,” Bryan said.
The Caswell Scholars Program provides 9th through 11th graders with the opportunity to participate in a series of after-school or weekend classes that cover topics ranging from psychology to chocolate. Classes operate on trimester system and students must complete two trimesters of classes a year to successfully complete the program.
Bryan said that the administration’s choice to impose the charge was a compromise for offering a larger variety of classes.
“If we don’t add a participation fee, then some popular courses might have to be eliminated. Our judgment was that having a wider variety of courses available for students was worth a $25 annual fee. Having the larger menu of choices available was the higher priority,” Bryan said.
However, even with the fee, sign ups have been consistent with previous years, he said.
Gulnar ’13 said that she believed the program was worth the cost.
“The fee didn’t affect my decision to sign up. Caswell Scholars is a great program, and I wanted to sign up regardless of the fee,” she said.
On the other hand, Genny ’13 said that even though the fee did not discourage her from signing up, it did upset her.
“I think it is bothersome that we didn’t have to pay last year, but we have to pay this year, even though it seems like we’re doing the same things,” she said.