Sometimes You Gotta Pay to Play


John Ferrannini and Connor Jang

Between cheerleading, band, club and school sports, money is flying out of parents’ pockets.

“Cheer is definitely an expensive activity,” junior Arianna Sue said. “Most of the money goes to uniforms and camp clothes, and the Disneyland trip is a whole other story, but that’s optional.”

Cheerleaders have to pay $1,000 up front every year despite the fact that California law prohibits charging students for anything that relates to school activities.

Band also has its fiscal consequences, but junior Gavin White echoed many participants in extracurriculars who we interviewed, who said that despite the high costs it was well worth it.

“Learning to play an instrument is an investment that will pay off,” White said. “Not only is it an awesome life skill, but the experiences that come with it are invaluable.”

“Mo’ money, mo’ problems. The costs aren’t too bad and for what we do, it’s worth it,” said senior Alex Remiticado. “How many people get to go to Spain and New York with friends?”

This sentiment was echoed by senior Matt Straka.

“The money does add up quickly,” said Straka. “But the experience you receive from going on the various trips absolutely makes it worthwhile.”

“Water polo is a very time and cash consuming activity,” senior John Price said.

Club sports can run up thousand dollar bills between coaching, pool rental, coaches, tournament fees and hotels on trips. Price pays around $5,000 a year between playing for varsity Water Polo, club Water Polo, and an Olympic development program.

Senior Kelsey Showler pays to play softball.

“Each of us has to pay $125 to be on the team,” Showler said. “We have to pay for gas, chalk, and game balls. We raise a lot of money at fundraisers though. We’re selling coupon books and we sold tamales.”

Baseball players probably have it the easiest of all the extracurricular activities offered at Rio. There is no up front payment.

“Baseball requires funds to pay for coaching and field renovations,” senior Ben Davis said.

“But we manage to cover those costs with fundraisers.”

Lucky, most extracurricular activities have fundraisers to the fiscal impact of participating in a high school activity.

Cheer sells coffee, has car washes, and countless other fund raisers. These fund raisers pay entirely for the coaches.

Groups of band students travel house to house to play for donations, and appeals attendees of concerts to donate to the pristine music program.

The American River Water Polo Club hosts an annual dinner and dance, dubbed the “Spring Fling” to help pay for the club’s expenditures, avoiding passing the costs onto the players.

The baseball team sells discount cards to the community to help pay for coaches stipends and field renovations.

The general consensus is that while extracurricular activities are sometimes expensive, they are well worth the monetary sacrifice for improving playing abilities and overall high school experiences.

Freshman Christian Jordan, who plays football, said “The season always has its ups and downs, but in the end it’s worth it.”


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Cheerleading is so much more than the pom poms. The girls are responsible for paying for uniforms, team trips, and yes, pom poms.
“We try and fundraise as much as we can,” junior Arianna Sue said. “But everything that we don’t raise comes out of our pockets.”
“Certain fundraisers go towards certain things,” Sue said. “For example, the pasta night raises money for coaches’ stipends and we sell coffee and have car washes to help pay for uniforms.
“Luckily, seniors don’t have to pay nearly as much. They keep their uniform from junior year,” Sue said.
Despite the cost, Sue would not give up cheer for the world.

Club Rugby

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Senior Nate Ansbach plays for the Sacramento Eagles rugby team. He says that in his case, playing for a club is cheaper than playing for a school team.
“It’s $150 up front,” Ansbach said. “You need to pay for jerseys, shorts, and socks. You have the option to buy accessories. A bag is another $100. If you go to a tournament, at most it’s $200 per team.”
“It’s worth it because most ports are more impacted by high costs than rugby. Think basketball, football. It’s cheaper than what a school team would cost and so you get your money’s worth.”

– John Ferrannini

Water Polo

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Sophomore Ian Brady was an attacker on the water polo team last season. It’s technically free to join varsity water polo but players need to buy suits and bring other accessories. Brady said that when all was said and done he payed $100.
Nevertheless, Brady echoed the sentiment of many others who said that extracurriculars were worth it.
“It’s fun to be out there and swim around with your friends,” Brady said. “It’s also fun to guard James Fitzgibbons.”
Brady also plays club water polo for American River and swims for Rio del Oro.
– John Ferrannini


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Senior Ben Snyder plays tenor saxophone for Small Ensemble and AM Jazz. He considers the pursuit of musical prowess a worthwhile venture.
“Various costs can add up from reeds and instruments to private lessons which can definitely take their toll,” Snyder said. “But I think that in the long run, being able to express yourself through a melodious medium is essential to your well-being”
Junior Taylor Mesich, who also plays tenor saxophone in both Small Ensemble and AM Jazz, agrees. “Participating in band is definitely, totally, awesomely worth the money if all your friends are there and music is something you love,” agreed.
-Victor Lam