It is graduation weekend in Grayson County and hundreds of young people will don mortar boards, more commonly referred to as graduation caps, and walk across stages to receive that hard-earned diplomas.
At some local graduations, a few of those hats will be adorned with more than just a tassel. At others, such adornments were forbidden.
At Whitesboro High School, a group of students got together earlier in the year and asked for the right to adorn their caps.
“They had to follow guidelines for decorating it, but we are allowing it,” Intervention Counselor Ashley Drake said. She said 117 students will graduate this weekend and 41 turned in hats to be approved.
Drake also said the hat decorations had to be detachable from the hat and they had to be turned in for review by a certain date.
“Then we are holding them until graduation night and we will pass them out once they line up for graduation,” she explained.
She said this is the first year that they have done this in Whitesboro and the fear was that seniors might feel like they could do anything they want with regard to decoration and something inappropriate might slip by until it is viewed from the stands in the middle of the ceremony.
Denison High School’s webpage listing information about graduation specifically said students were not allowed to decorate their caps.
DHS Principal Cavin Buettger said in a written statement, “In Denison, our graduation ceremony has traditionally been a formal and serious celebration of a very important milestone in our students’ lives, and we believe we should honor it as such. It is our belief that the ceremony should be kept traditional, respectful and formal in all ways, until the last student is honored and diplomas presented. The students then sing the Alma Mater with great pride…and celebrate by throwing their hats in the air and celebrating with families and friends! Our graduation ceremony is designed to be a wonderful and beautiful night, one our students and their families will remember with pride for the rest of their lives.”
At Sherman High, the information was left off the graduation instructions, but students were verbally warned not to jazz up their caps.
“Sherman High School has remained traditional in their commencement ceremonies throughout the years and has not allowed students to decorate their graduation caps,” Sherman ISD Director of Communications Kimberly Simpson said of the district’s decision to not allow cap decorations. “With the transition to new leadership at the high school, the new administration decided to stay with that tradition. Additionally, several of our students rent their cap and gown for their commencement ceremony and are required to return their cap and gown after the ceremony.”