End Homeroom Raffles

Homeroom has become a regular part of Claremont High School’s schedule this year and has received a diversity of responses from staff and students. One of the largest parts of homeroom’s curriculum and agenda is raffles. Every week, homeroom teachers distribute green raffle tickets to CHS students in each classroom. These raffle tickets are used in hopes of increasing student participation and creating a more positive learning environment. If a student happens to have a lucky ticket, they can win a wide variety of prizes. There are smaller homeroom raffles within each classroom with prizes ranging from candy to gift cards. Moreover, there are larger-scale raffles with the entire school, in which students can win considerable prizes. Some of the most notable include televisions and AirPods.
Speculation has occurred amongst CHS students about where the funding for these extravagant prizes comes from. With about two-thirds of the United States schools facing a “funding-gap” (Century Foundation 1) and not being able to provide the necessary resources for their students, it seems rather absurd that CHS can afford to give away free Airpods and other luxuries in raffles. The money used in the raffles could be put towards the betterment of the school and providing a higher quality of education by increasing the funds available for Claremont’s clubs, sports teams, and student-run organizations. Or, the money could be given to other schools in California or the rest of the nation that are facing the effects of a lack of financial resources. In total, public schools are underfunded by 150 billion dollars every single year according to Century Foundation 1. The waste of money in these homeroom raffles is unfair to students and educators across the nation.
Administration at CHS hoped that students would love the idea and the prizes that come with it. Although the intent of the raffles was altruistic and appreciated, they have not benefited CHS students in any major way. So where does the money for these costly raffles come from?
Andrea Gosnell is one of the head homeroom coordinators at Claremont High School and helps to organize each specific raffle. The decision to run the raffles was site wide. Gosnell was questioned about the funding and impact of these raffles.
“Money has been donated by PFA and TUPE for the raffle items,” Gosnell said.
TUPE represents Tobacco-Use Prevention Education and is a state-funded program. The money donated from TUPE should instead be used to provide a higher quality of mental health education and better counseling to ensure students do not begin using Tobacco in the first place. Instead, the money is being used to give away unnecessary Airpods to students. The exact quantitative amount of money spent on each triad raffle was not specified by Gosnell, but we can assume it amounts to several hundred dollars each semester based on the prices of prizes.
“Students are positively rewarded by engaging in homeroom lessons. This practice supports our school’s philosophy on PBIS. It is also something that separates homeroom from academic classes,” Gosnell said.
The homeroom curriculum should not need rewards to gain student engagement. If homeroom truly benefited students and provided a positive and safe learning environment, then students would be willing to participate in the discussions themselves. All throughout CHS, the disapproval for homeroom has been expressed, yet it remains a part of our daily schedule. It is costly and is not improving student behavior.
There are much better ways to support the philosophy of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports. Homeroom can be used as a study hall and the raffle money can be used for the betterment of education and on-campus organizations. Win Wednesday does not need the current homeroom curriculum to be a part of its agenda.
Many students on campus have expressed concern about the financing for Homeroom raffles including myself. I was astounded to hear about the extravagant gifts being given to students repetitively throughout the school year. The cost of Homeroom raffle tickets and prizes continues to increase, while their impact is lost. Homeroom continues to fail to benefit the students at Claremont High School and is a waste of assets and time. Raffles take away valuable financial resources from extracurricular activities here at CHS and deprive students in neighboring schools of the funds they need to function. Homeroom raffles need to end.