Better late than never: 2017 Prom asking winners reimbursed for Chipotle orders

Sophia Krugler and Kira Sterling

First place winners Laura Sieh and Michael Wang pose for a picture on the senior deck after Sieh asked Wang to Prom in 2017. Now, nearly two years after the event, the winners are finally being reimbursed for their prize money. “[Associated Student Body Treasurer] Riya Kumar for several weeks pushed forward to get us our rewards,” Sieh stated in a recent message. “It showed a huge amount of accountability on her part.” Photo: Alan Huang

Every spring, flowers, posters and onlookers flood the Quad at Palo Alto High School as students compete to outdo each other in the annual Prom Asking Competition.

In 2017, the Paly Associated Student Body offered juniors and seniors who publicly asked someone to Prom the chance to win Chipotle gift cards. The winners were determined by popular vote on the Prom Asking Competition’s official Facebook page — first place winners were each supposed to receive a $20 gift card, second place winners a $15 gift card and third place winners a $10 gift card.

However, prize money for the 2017 Prom Asking Competition, as well as the 2017 Homecoming Asking Competition and 2018 Elimination, never reached winners. 

Through a post this year on her Instagram regarding the incident, first place Prom Asking winner Laura Sieh (Class of 2017) caught the attention of Associated Student Body Treasurer Riya Kumar, who brought the issue to ASB.

Originally, there seemed to be nothing that ASB could do to resolve the issue, since the prize money was supposed to come from the 2016-2017 ASB budget, according to ASB Secretary Charlize Nguyen.

“It was a lack of follow-through on the part of 2017 ASB that resulted in the Homecoming and Prom Asking Winners not getting their prize,” Nguyen said. “Money was approved for the prom asking, but I don’t think the past officers went out to purchase the prizes.”

However, Kumar said she was determined to ensure the winners received their prizes.

As ASB, we would never want someone who didn’t get their prize to just leave Paly without it,” Kumar said. “ASB is really working hard to make sure that they do get what they’re promised.”

ASB has approved money from this year’s budget to distribute to the winners, and Kumar said she has reached out to all winners still without prizes over social media.  

“Now, the current ASB is trying to right past ASB’s wrongs,” Nguyen said. “That is why we decided to compensate the winners.”

However, due to a change in Paly’s financial regulations, ASB can no longer distribute gift cards as prizes, Kumar said. In order to redeem their prize, the winners must first buy Chipotle, then send in their receipt before ASB can reimburse them with a check. 

Second place winner Marcel Sano Colchen (Class of 2017) said he has already sent in a picture of his receipt and was reimbursed Wednesday, March 20.

“I think it has been handled appropriately now, though I do think the wait was a little long,” Sano Colchen stated in a message. “I understand it’s a lot of moving parts for them, and I am totally OK with how it has happened.”

After a long and complicated process, Sieh said she is grateful that ASB has worked hard to find a solution.

Riya Kumar, for several weeks, pushed forward to get us our rewards,” Sieh stated in a message. “It showed a huge amount of accountability on her part.”