Written by Abbey Norton |
Photos via Julia Rose Photography |
Google graduation caps and you will discover thousands of beautifully-decorated caps, full of witty lines, decorative patterns, and glitter. When these caps are thrown in the air, the sky turns into a canvas of accomplishment. This is the students’ final moment together with all of their classmates, one of the last experiences they will share. So why do graduating Seniors at Morgan not decorate their caps?
Schools around Connecticut have differing views on whether or not the students should be allowed to decorate their caps. Some discuss the importance of tradition. Principal Rick Misenti of Guilford High School said, “Decorating graduation caps has been a long standing tradition in our high school.”
Individuality can be a tradition, but so can unity. “Valley Regional High School has a very long tradition of a very formal graduation ceremony,” said Principal Mike Barile of Valley Regional High School. He also believes that “this is a moment when a class stands one last time together. When students receive their diploma during the ceremony is the time for each student to be recognized individually.” The unity that Valley symbolizes is recognized through their matching caps and gowns.
Students who are able to decorate their graduation caps in different schools still have to follow the school guidelines. “Decorated caps should adhere to the same guidelines as in our student dress code; free from references to drugs, alcohol, profanity and offensive speech,” said Principal Vincent DeNuzzo of East Haven High School. This way, the caps can still be presentable in the graduation ceremony and be a symbol of respect for the community and the school.
Of the eleven principals from various schools that mentioned their school policy, nine said their school allowed students to decorate their caps. Two of the eleven said the students are not allowed to decorate their caps.
The Morgan School believes in the importance of unity and togetherness that graduation can symbolize. “As a class, there is a level of being unified, and the context of having it be a professional, serious ceremony,” said Mrs. Hagness. “That’s just been the tradition since I started, and the focus on the event is really about the connection as a class.”
How can Seniors change this policy?
Principal Joseph Anastasio of Old Saybrook High School mentions their graduation cap policy was changed because of one conversation. “Two years ago, a small group of senior students asked to meet with the principal to ask for permission to decorate graduation caps. A discussion followed and students were given permission to decorate,” he said.
Mrs. Hagness said, “Hats are set by board policy, believe it or not, so I’m not sure if graduation attire is or it’d be something the board would consider.” Something as simple as discussion can change the traditions of one school. It is important for students to talk about issues with the administration.
The Seniors of 2017 will graduate in early June, surrounded by friends and family. There may not be glitter in the air, but their attire will create a beautiful sea of blue and white, a symbol of achievement.