Where is the Money Going?


Neve Walker

Our biggest conference yet, Three participants! Throughout my four years at Cathedral the biggest delegation we brought to a school was three students, we have also brought two students once and one student twice. We need to change the way we think about clubs and their place at Cathedral before it is too late.

Five out of the 1,360 days I have been attending Cathedral Catholic High School have been dedicated to my passion, Model United Nations. These days attending conferences, mostly spent by myself, reflect the determination I have to explore my future in diplomacy. No matter how many empty meetings I have and unanswered emails I would receive, I would not give up.

I went to a public middle school. Although we weren’t well funded, the administration at my school prioritized the things necessary for the students and their future. The public high school in my area, where most of my friends went, didn’t have a beautiful campus, nor as many successful sports, but what they did have was well-funded and award-winning academic programs.

While in middle school, I participated in Mock Trial, Model United Nations, and even Science Olympiad. I enjoyed these activities and wanted to continue throughout high school.

At least, that is what I wanted. I became the president of Model UN in my sophomore year. With a lack of resources, and participants, this club nearly died. During a time when we can participate in any conference around the world because of Zoom, the students of Cathedral became less and less interested in the academic program. Not only did students not want to participate, we got no funding from the school so each student would have to pay out of pocket to attend. This led me to have to pay the fee for other students in a plea for them to attend.

In eighth grade, I competed in a high school Model UN conference and won Best Delegate, beating out those with years of experience and those older than me. Now, everyone has caught up to me.

Those I was previously surpassing have far outpaced me. This is not because of my lack of talent, but because of the lack of club funding, participants, and advisors, which led the club to flounder.

Hundreds of thousands of students participate in Model UN from around the world, and there isn’t a shortage of failing clubs. However, we are a private school, we have the resources to fund this program and fund the other failing academic programs.

So what are the resources we have going to?

Although we all pay $20,000 a year in tuition, it doesn’t seem like our needs are being met. The fundraising opportunities we have are going to meaningless projects that are not reflected in the wants of the Cathedral community.

For example, one of the biggest fundraisers Cathedral hosts is the Wine and Microbrew. The proceeds of this fundraiser are “focused on raising funds to replace the six scoreboards as well as addressing the need for a scoreboard on the lower turf fields and volleyball court,” as stated in a report made by the Business Office.

This same report said that this project is “long overdue.”

Many may argue that this project is unnecessary. First of all, Cathedral is already receiving sports donations. Just a few weeks ago, a family donated a new scoreboard in our gym. With this new scoreboard, it should be said that we don’t need to spend one of the only fundraising opportunities on more unnecessary upgrades. An argument that many will make is that a major draw to our school is our sports teams, yet not everyone is on the football team and not everyone is an athlete at college recruitment level. With all the failing clubs and programs at this school, is a new scoreboard really important?

“No, at the end of the day we are an academic organization and that should be our number one priority, as of right now it is not,” noted a Cathedral Catholic teacher.

To make matters worse, this project will take $2 million to complete. Currently, Cathedral has around $650,000 sitting around, all going towards the new scoreboards. After four years at this school it has become apparent, Cathedral needs to be more responsible about the financial decisions they are making. We are paying tuition at this school, yet many of our programs are getting less funding than at a public school.

Why did it take so long for the art rooms to get air conditioning? Why do we need three people in admin just for the marketing department? Why do we have a shortage of teachers and subs? This is because of the decisions that Cathedral is making to give funding to things they feel are important rather than focus on what is the most important: we are an academic institution.

Many teachers and students are up in arms about this financial decision, at least all the people that are made aware of this project.

“We can afford a Jumbotron, but not a decent Wi-Fi router?” a student questioned.

With many important projects that need to be fulfilled at Cathedral, a question remains, if not for this $2,000,000 project, what else should this money fund?

“I would invest in equipment and resources for more art-focused classes so that a student from all backgrounds could participate in those classes,” another teacher said.

A teacher proposed that we should use some of our financial resources on adding more books to classes. As of right now, English teachers are only getting around $150 per year on books or unique curriculum needs. If there are no books, or even a library, at least add funding to supply books for the classroom, this teacher argues.

It is still unclear who is making these decisions to use our one of the only fundraising opportunities to pay for a new scoreboard. According to the business office, a survey was sent out regarding the use of funds, yet there doesn’t seem to be public knowledge about this survey.

“I do feel like the teachers’ voices are lost when it comes to financial decisions,” a teacher said.

Other clubs are failing because of the lack of resources given to student organizations, A Women’s Wardrobe for example, has stopped being active because of lack of participants and expenses.

“I had a vision for A Women’s Wardrobe,” said the leader of the club. “I wanted to make it bigger and host different clothing drives and fashion events, but we didn’t have the resources or traction to do so.”

Many organizations are not getting funding, not just Model UN and other clubs. Cultural organizations at our school are also not getting any money to hold events or have special meetings celebrating their culture.

The Black Student Union, for example, had to pay out of pocket to jumpstart their fundraising opportunities and to be able to run the club. In order to get more funding they sold sweatshirts and participated in the only fundraising event Cathedral offers for clubs: the club carnival.

This fundraising opportunity is usually held in March and isn’t generally as successful as ASB is trying to make it. Many clubs do not even make any money during this event, Model UN for example didn’t even break even.

March is one of the last months of the school year, many believe that the money earned will be used for the next school year, yet, something the Business Office is trying to make unknown, the money earned during Club Carnival will not necessarily run over to the next school year.

An individual familiar with the structure of club finances shared with me that the money gained from the club carnival for each club will not be held over the summer because ASB doesn’t act like a bank. Apparently, a spreadsheet with all the club finances cannot be created so again, where is the money going? The money isn’t disappearing over the summer.

Holding administration accountable for their financial decisions is crucial for the future of this school. Cathedral is known for its beautiful campus and winning sports teams, but we have the potential for so much more. Having more opportunities for clubs t0 raise money will not only help clubs that need funds to function, but garner more participants for the organization. More people will want to join successful clubs or other academic programs rather than nearly extinct clubs.

With only one non-substantial fundraising event each year and little to no funding, the future of clubs at this school is bleak, especially the academic clubs that should be thriving at our affluent school.

According to the administration, though, $2 million dollar scoreboards are more important.