CORPUS CHRISTI — One could argue a perk of being an upperclassman in high school was driving to campus.
Not only did many high school seniors in Flour Bluff get to pick their parking space before the 2023-2024 school year started, they got to paint it to help raise money for prom.
“It’s not done yet but I’m gonna have a Jeep here because I drive a Jeep,” senior Hannah Koesters said as she pointed at the asphalt of the parking lot across from Flour Bluff High School.
She smiled as big as the yellow sun she painted on what’s now her designated parking space, decorated with two coats of hot pink paint and the name of one of her favorite brands, ‘Life is Good’.
“Other than the heat, it’s really fun,” Flour Bluff High School English teacher Betsy Johnson said.
Organizers said the tradition began 2021.
“Because of COVID we couldn’t fundraise for almost two years and we didn’t have much money in our account,” Johnson said. “I had friends at other districts that did it and so they gave me the idea.”
To reserve and paint a parking space, seniors pay a $80 fee per parking spot.
“To raise money like this for it especially it’s a very smart way because a lot of people wanted to do it,” senior Cylie Wong said.
All the money is funneled towards paying for prom, which is not a cheap endeavor.
“Prom’s expensive,” senior Abbigale Spencer said. “This is a good easy way to make money and we get something out of it too.”
“With all the inflation going on, it keeps raising the price so we’re raising our fundraising efforts to match those needs,” Audreana Underbrink, the high school’s Career Technology and Education teacher, said.
Each student could customize their space in a way that represents them, turning their campus parking lot into a colorful canvas.
“I wanted to incorporate something about my personality, my culture and also my faith,” senior and basketball player," Kyle Xu said. His space is a golden basketball court with maroon lines, a cross in the middle and his name in Chinese.
“I’m going to do a Spongebob theme,” Cylie Wong said as she painted the blue and lime green lines she painted, inspired by the famous Nickelodeon program. “Four years later and just to really show how much I’ve grown in school.”
Ashely Doggett painted flowers with a beach and surfboard.
“I think I’ve been surfing since I was nine,” Doggett said.
The Flour Bluff ISD staff who organized the project said students designs had to be approved ahead of time.
“They can’t have their boyfriend or girlfriends name or their best friends name on their parking spot,” Underbrink said. “It kind of eliminates the drama that could come in the future.”
She said the class of 2024 is full of creatives and artists.
“They come up with these amazing ideas and some of them are kinda crazy,” Underbrink said.
A particular spot that stood out to KRIS 6 News reporter Taylor Alanis was the parking spot belonging to senior Abbigale Spencer.
“It says treat people with kindness,” Spencer said as she painted the yellow center of a flower on her Harry Styles themed canvas. “I love the idea of treating everyone the way you want to be treated and just being kind is very important and it means a lot to me."
Spencer said important especially in a time when social media is king.
“I feel like everybody’s trying to compare themselves to each other so you have yourself beating yourself, I don’t think you need somebody else doing it to you," she said.
Whether its a beautiful message, a laugh or a masterpiece, each painted space is a reminder to cherish the memories they make at Flour Bluff High School.
Organizers said students who have a driving permit can purchase their parking space, paint it and can park there as soon as they get their license.
Underbrink said there are ways for the community to sponsor a space for a senior.
“The first step I would suggest is look up the Flour Bluff Class of 2024 on Facebook and you can reach out on there,” Underbrink said.