Should Students Be Allowed to Decorate Caps, Gowns?

Caps and gowns are the traditional attire worn during a graduation ceremony over our formal clothing. It is almost a uniform for the class to look like one whole unit. 

Decorating caps and gowns would give the seniors a chance to showcase their individuality and creative abilities.

Seniors year after year have asked if having their caps and gowns decorated would be an option for them when graduation day came. 

At some schools it is permitted, but at Dimond High it is not.

To decorate, or not to decorate, that is the question.

Dimond Senior Allainejoy Trimor stated, “I think we should be able to decorate our caps and gowns because we only have a few weeks of high school left due to Covid and because we paid for it with our own money. I also think it’s the least the school would let us do since we aren’t having a prom.

“I personally don’t mind but it would be really cute and fun to express how you feel through decorating our own caps/gown. The regular caps and gowns look boring so I’d want mine to match whatever outfit I’m wearing or which college I am going to after high school.” 

Students’ personality and styles could shine through on their big day.

There is a regalia policy some students make use of to showcase their cultures or tribes.

Shirley Reeves, a Community Counselor and Indian Education teacher at Dimond said, “Indigenous people historically have had regalia for special events… this is a special event and wanting to be loud and proud about the culture is basically the wearing of the regalia.

“About three years ago it was approved by our superintendent that within the boundaries of common sense and good taste that it could be worn.”

There is a form to submit for the permission of this exciting opportunity, that the superintendent would look over. Sadly, the deadline for this year’s graduating class has passed.

Reeves continued by saying, “It is accessible to anybody who has regalia of any culture, it’s not just Indian Ed. It can be our Polynesian brothers and sisters, Filipino, American Indian, Alaska Native [etc.].”

As an Indian Ed teacher and Community Counselor at Dimond, Reeves is very happy with this policy.

“I have been waiting for it since forever, it is about time. I am so happy for kids.

“When you get out there’s just something that takes over when you put on that gown and all those people are waiting and it’s the moment of, and you want to be with your friends and you are very proud… and for kids with cultural backgrounds it’s exciting to celebrate and remember it.

“For those who are able to reach back and grab it [items that represent their culture] and put it on their head or their feet or around their neck it is a very proud moment.

“Now we have cords for the Alaska Natives… you will see some turquoise cords at graduation,” Reeves said.

Reeves is excited for students to feel unique and representatives through their caps and gowns.

Reeves finished by saying, “It just makes us look so much more interesting. We are a homogenous group, but we are still unique.”

Seniors are excited for their chance to represent themselves and their ancestors.

Dimond Senior Sonya Garcia is going to take advantage of this exception.

“Personally I am getting mine altered [her Alaska Middle College School gown] with bead work to represent my culture because I feel it’s part of who I am today. 

“Now more than ever we should be allowed to alter as many family members can’t be there so we’re able to represent them and to also have a piece of our history with us,” Garcia added.

  Many other seniors feel the same as Garcia and Trimor. We do not see what the big deal is.

Others, like Dimond Senior Olivia Kelzenberg, do not believe that it is the biggest problem, but also do not believe it will be an inconvenience.

“I honestly don’t care that much but it doesn’t hurt… it’s a cute tradition, there is no reason for us not to,” Kelzenberg said.

I personally believe that since we did purchase our uniforms for graduation that we should have the opportunity to do what we want with them, as long as it is school appropriate.

I do not want to blend in with everyone on this special day. I want to stand out, especially for my family and friends to point me out easier during the ceremony.

Even with the clock ticking down to graduation and the end of high school for us seniors, I still hope something will happen.