Cottage Grove Athletes Offered Free Prom

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COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — Cottage Grove High School has been working on improving its sports programs, and in the process, has developed a council of student athletes, parents, and teachers to lead the way.

That council recently decided to use funds raised to give some of the athletes a free trip to prom.

The idea was that the athletic department would use money raised from Cottage Grove-hosted athletic events to comp prom for any three-sport-athlete. Athletics administrators say the intention was to promote more students to get involved in sports, but other students feel there are better, less exclusive ways to promote athletics at Cottage Grove.

Cottage Grove prom tickets cost students $25 a piece.

“We wanted to encourage students who wanted to be three-sport athletes to go ahead and do that, and we thought some incentives might help with that,” said Kay Graham, Cottage Grove High School Principal.

Graham says the idea was to use money raised by the athletic department to pay for the athletes tickets, but the idea didn’t sit well with everyone.

“I heard people talking about it, and a lot of people were upset about it before I even started anything,” said junior Zack Lafoca.

Lafoca brought it up to a teacher who suggested he start a petition, which Lafoca did, identifying the reasons he thinks the free-prom incentive isn’t fair and thinks it doesn’t encourage athletics participation the way it was intended.

“I think if anything it’s going to make people upset. And if they really wanted to promote sports, they could do something maybe where they give kids the money who can’t afford to go to prom, courtesy of the athletic department, or if they want to do something for the athletes, maybe have something to do with athletics,” Lafoca said.

Lafoca collected 250 signatures so far, and is planning to meet with principal graham and administrators Monday.

“I appreciate that he’s bringing this to our attention, and any student who has concerns, we want them to bring those to our attention,” Graham said.

Both say the mutual goal is fairness.

“I think that they should either give everybody tickets who’s involved in the school in some way, or gets good grades, or they should give nobody tickets and keep everyone equal,” Lafoca said.

“The whole point is how do we look at being fair to all kids and encourage kids to be as active as they possibly can,” Graham said.

Principal Graham says they can’t make changes to prom this year, especially because the promise has already been made to athletes, but she, Lafoca and administrators will discuss options for the future about different club incentives.

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