Fees add up for graduating students

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- It’s a time to celebrate for the class of 2014. Graduation is a right of passage, and a rewarding finale after years of hard work. But it can also cost the graduate and their family money. Depending on the school, the cost can be as low as $25 or run into the hundreds.

But for most students, the experience is priceless.

Southeast High student Alexander Strzalkowski earned straight-As through all four years of high school and he's extremely active in extracurricular activities.

"I've done cross-country and tennis all four years varsity,” he says. “I've enjoyed that a lot and I've done a lot of other science clubs."

His classmate Lauren McDuffie also maintained an extremely high GPA and is involved in almost every activity offered at Southeast.

"I did a lot of community service, especially at … Blake Medical Center, and I also did small projects such as Warm Hearts Warm Bodies, where I collected warm clothing and then gave it back to the community," she says.

In addition to maintaining hectic schedules, both students also had to meet the financial obligations that come with being a senior who is about to graduate.

"The senior yearbook, the senior class ring, the cost for cap and gowns and other things like that," McDuffie says.

Depending on the school, graduation costs can range from $25 to $110 and can include special events like a senior picnic or just the cost to rent a cap and gown. Items like yearbooks, class rings and graduation trips can put the cost even higher.

"At the being of the school year they gave us a list of everything we would have to pay for here at Southeast, so every month we would [pick] something that I wanted to do and we would pay for it specifically," McDuffie says.

But for Alexander and many students like him, the cost of graduation is the least of their worries.

"Your just worrying about applying to colleges and getting all of that stuff submitted," he says.