What to wear: Red or Black? Both!


Rachel McCoy

Don’t fix if it isn’t broken. Students want red and black graduation gowns.

by Ashley Martin, Managing Editor

The senior class has already begun to count down to the big day they can say goodbye to high school forever. They will march into Knott Arena in two long rows of alternating red and black. Except LHS is not going to match the class attire of years past.  Unfortunately, this year our school is joining other schools in the county by all students wearing the same caps and gowns at graduation.

Mr. Jeremy Brown, senior class co-advisor, and the administration have found a way to preserve what is most unique about the Lancer tradition, and students will wear a combination gown.

Traditionally, the boys had worn black, and the girls had worn red.  Last year, students had a choice between red or black–not strictly choosing based on gender. This year schools must conform to a specific FCPS regulation.

Although there was a major push for schools to go one color, it wasn’t until Regulation No. 400-36, issued in August 2017 and ammended in January 2019, changed the protocal.  This regulation, “Creating Welcoming and Affirming Schools for TRansgender and Gender Noncornforming Students” hat created, welcomed, and affirmed schools for Transgender and Gender Non-confirming Students guarantees that students feel comfortable in all situations and not have to associate themselves with one “color” which is often branded by gender. Section J of the new regulation states “Dress Codes designated for school events like dances, graduations, or other ceremonies shall be gender neutral.” 

Principal Nancy Doll said, “ Although we give our students the opportunity to choose red or black, they are still making a choice. By going with one color, we are considered gender neutral in that no one has to make a choice as to what color to wear at graduation.”   

On October 22, Tom Orme, Jostens representative, visited the seniors during PREP to talk about how to order caps, gowns, and tassels.  For students who would have worn a hand-me-down from a sibling or friend, they will need to order new graduation gear, at the minimum cost of $33.

Brown organizes the graduation every year. He and co-advisor, Allison Partner designed the new robe incorporating both colors, red and black.

Jeremy Brown said, “It’s about the graduates and their families here in the community. The kids wanted something more traditional to Linganore and not plain black.”

There is plenty of grumbling among seniors. Although LHS was the only two-color holdout in the FCPS 2019 graduations, LHS students have not been quiet because they always had a choice between red and black.

Shelby Tkacik, 2019 alumna said, “Last year I decided to wear black instead of red because it clashed with my bright red hair.”

For a few, hand-me-downs were a source of pride (and a little money saved). Alissa Purtee, class of 2010 wore red. She grew up with two sisters, and all three of them passed down the cap and gown to one another.

She said, “I was the middle child and it was always exciting for all of us not only to save money to not buy a new cap and gown but the fact we all got to share the kind of experience in the same outfit.” 

Linganore alumna and parent, Debbie Ridgely said, “Graduation was a little different. Back then we got to choose who our walking partners were and, of course, girls wore red and boys wore black. I do not agree with Linganore’s decision this year because I feel girls and boys should be differentiated at graduation.” 

Current Senior, Gabbi Young said, “Although I am sad we won’t be able to carry on the tradition of wearing different colors at graduation, I’m excited the class of 2020 gets to get a new designed cap and gown.”

The big reveal will be at graduation practice, May 2020.