As part of the SRHS annual senior parking spaceÂ fundraiser, students showcased their creativity and individuality through unique, colorful designs. (photo by Cynthia Kurose)
School tradition: parking spots
More than 100 seniors at Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS) gathered in the school’s front parking lot over the course of three days this month to take part in a long-standing school tradition. Each fall, designated parking spots are auctioned off to the highest bidders in a school fundraiser, offering seniors an opportunity to purchase, personalize and maintain ownership over their very own parking space for the duration of the school year.
While all SRHS students with a parking permit are allowed to park on campus, these dedicated spaces are a privilege reserved exclusively for the senior class. In addition to being a guaranteed, consistent parking spot every school day, these spaces also allow students an opportunity to showcase their creativity and demonstrate their individuality.
Designated painting days were held after school on Oct. 8 and 10, as well as the morning of Saturday, Oct. 13. During these specified times, students who purchased a space were invited to bring their own materials and any desired helpers to paint and personalize their spots, while enjoying a festive atmosphere.
Grady Dok is vice president of the Associated Student Body (ASB) senior class, the student group responsible for the fundraising activity.
“We supply music and a good time, and everyone has fun with their friends,” he said.
Indeed, on those designated painting days, the school parking lot was abuzz with energetic teenagers, happily hard at work painting their spaces – some solo and singularly-focused on the task-at-hand; others laughing with friends as they discussed their designs; and still others making it a family affair, with parents joining the project.
Alexis LoVuolo worked with her mother on painting a geometric design that featured the letter “A” in the center.
“My mom and I are like best friends so we always do everything together,” she said.
Meanwhile, Nancie Helders, a senior at SRHS who has long had a passion and talent for art, took the project on as a solo artist. Helders explained that she had never before painted on such a large surface so it did present some challenges, but she was excited to be participating in the activity.
“When I found out about [this activity] … I got excited that I could personalize a spot, make it mine and leave my mark for the year,” she said.
While perhaps helpful, artistic ability is not a requirement for participation, according to Amber Almond, senior class secretary.
“It’s still fun to come out and paint and make your spot look as good as possible,” she said.
Parking spaces were made available for purchase through an auction that was held on campus during lunch on Sept. 20-21, with a re-auction for unclaimed spaces held on Sept. 24. Interested students were required to sign up in advance to participate in the optional activity, and only those registered were admitted to the function. Bidding for each space started at $40, with a minimum increment of $5 required to outbid the previous bidder. LoVuolo reported that the most expensive spot this year sold for around $400.
According to ASB advisor Lauren Ruiz, the median price of the 111 spots auctioned this year ranged between $150 and $300.
Alexandra Kotsos, senior class president, explained that the spaces that generally command a higher selling price are those that are in the shade and located nearest the exit.
“The funds we raise … go toward multiple senior activities throughout the year,” Kotsos said. “We want to have fun things for the seniors to do throughout the year such as senior sunrise, prom, graduation gifts and more.”
For many whose bids approached the higher end of the range, knowing that the funds would benefit the senior class helped make it feel more worthwhile. Gina Lane is a parent whose daughter, Juliana, purchased a space.
“It’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on a parking spot unless you know it’s going back to the students and they will get the value in return,” she said.
For some, that value goes well beyond the funds raised for the senior class.
“It gives students a sense of school spirit and camaraderie,” Lane said.
Likewise, for Helders: “I’m doing what I enjoy,” she said.