Express yourself by decorating a graduation cap


courtesy of Isabella Marcellino

Linganore alumni Isabella Marcellino showcasing her future broadcasting career at her Shippensburg graduation.

by Bailey Bennett, Reporter

Dark pants, closed-toed shoes, graduation robe–we all have to look the same. Seniors don’t get to change anything about their graduation caps–except write their names inside. At LHS and all Frederick County schools, seniors are not allowed to decorate their caps.

I disagree with this rule. I think decorating a cap should not only be allowed, it should be encouraged. My opinion is among the majority. In a survey of 22 Linganore students 96% said that they would decorate their cap if given the option.

Not only would decorating graduation caps allow students to express themselves, but it would allow them to celebrate their achievements. Many students attend college following high school, and those who don’t, often pursue a trade. Allowing students to decorate their graduation caps would allow them to showcase their future plans.

“I would like to decorate my cap with a Linganore to Penn State design, to represent my next steps after graduation,” said MaKenzie Llewellyn class of 2019.

One reason cap decoration is prohibited is for uniformity among the students, but that argument is not strong. Despite students wearing red and black, the uniformity does not extend beyond that. Students wear cords awarded for achievements and stolls if they are members of honor societies. These colored accessories mean that not all students are uniform, and to prohibit cap decoration on that premise is inequitable.

A vast majority of students have the same opinion as me: 96% of students said that they do not think cap decoration would disrupt uniformity.

Many might think that cap decoration could create competition: Who has a brighter future? Who has achieved more? Who is more creative?

Really, it will even the playing field. Students who wear cords are already viewed as smarter or more accomplished, but this is not the case. Students without cords often excel, just in areas different than their peers. Allowing cap decoration would not create more competition. It would allow all students to showcase their best selves in a new way.

In a Lancer Media survey, 24% would decorate with pictures; 33% would decorate with a quote; and 33% would decorate with their future college, while others would decorate with things like their completer programs. In the survey, all students had some idea of what they would decorate on their cap to showcase themselves well,  and since cap decoration is not required it would be no added stress or pressure.

In addition, the argument that students would decorate their caps inappropriately is not fair. Yes, trusting teenagers to decorate their caps is a risk, but to think that a senior would risk walking across state and go through the effort of adding something inappropriate to their cap is not reasonable.

And, checking graduation caps would not be as much of a burden as it is played out to be. Students are already being checked for contraband.  Would it be that much of a burden to take an extra two seconds to ensure caps are appropriate?

Lastly, I argue that cap decoration is only a small reward for the hard work of students. At graduation, students get minimal recognition, rushing across the stage before the next name is called.

Cap decoration won’t change this, but might give students a new sense of celebration for their 13 years of hard work.