The Student News Site of Gabrielino High School

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Orchestra, band prepare for Spring concert
Orchestra, band prepare for Spring concert
Brian Ly, Production Chief • May 10, 2024
Chenlu Yang, junior, and Cedric Hua, sophomore, on the official Speech & Debate Showcase poster | Photo courtesy of Peyton Ong
Speech Showcases their passion, pride
Sophia Pu, Editor in Chief • May 10, 2024

Allow seniors to decorate their graduation caps

Allow seniors to decorate their graduation caps

By Jordan Liu | Copy Editor

   At last year’s graduation ceremony, family and friends of seniors looked out upon a sea of graduation caps, with some being a simple blue and others displaying colorful pictures, inspirational sayings, and meaningful messages. However, these bright spots of color will be absent from this year’s graduation and could possibly be sorely missed by all future students, as Gabrielino seniors are banned from decorating their caps or mortarboards this year. Rescinding this ban and allowing cap decorations will promote students’ self-expression and gives us a chance to shine in our own way during a once-in-a-lifetime event.

   With the administration wanting a formal graduation ceremony, decorated caps have been labeled as unprofessional and not befitting of a dignified occasion. However, professionalism and self-expression should not be seen as separate things. Rather than stifling students’ personalities, the administration must embrace and accept individuality over uniformity.

   Allowing students to decorate their caps encourages creativity and gives students the ability to express who they are. The audience will not see a mess of color- instead, they will get glimpses into who each student is. 

   A study done by Ohio State University found that cap decorations have historically been used to celebrate students’ academic accomplishments, cultural identity, and school experiences. The mortarboard is not only symbolic of academic graduation, but of each student’s graduation to a new era in their life. Cap decorations are more than just articles of clothing- they provide a platform for students to share their journeys and stories. 

   According to Sheila Bock, a professor at the University of Nevada, “While all of these students end up in the same place on graduation day, a critical look at these mortarboards gives us both a glimpse into the varied paths students take to graduation and the different futures that await them.” 

   The fact that the class of 2022 was allowed to decorate their caps further rubs salt in the wound, as the current class of seniors have not even been given the option to do so. Additionally, while they are required to return the gowns, seniors are allowed to keep their caps, meaning that the school does not have to worry about damage to the caps either.

   Of course, it is reasonable to be worried that some students might put  inappropriate sayings or disruptive images on their caps. In order to ensure that students are able to properly and respectfully decorate their caps, the administration must establish clear guidelines for designs, placing a hard ban on malicious statements or offensive imagery and setting parameters for what is acceptable. The school can use the rehearsals before the ceremony to check students’ caps and should make the consequence of not being let into the ceremony for disobeying the guidelines clear to all students. 

   Ultimately, nothing, not even a piece of clothing with a silly phrase on it, will be able to take away the importance and honor of the graduation ceremony. While wanting to have a formal occasion is understandable, it is also important to remember that at its core, the ceremony is a celebration of the students and our unique high school journeys. Allowing cap decorations would emphasize this and provide a true representation of who the students of Gabrielino are.

Donate to The Tongva Times

Your donation will support the student journalists of Gabrielino High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tongva Times