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  • Writer's pictureMaxwell Collins

Seniors Now Allowed to Decorate Graduation Caps

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

Previously, Mishawaka High School administration has never let the seniors decorate their caps for graduation. As stated in a letter sent out by School City of Mishawaka (SCM) to seniors and their families, regarding commencement, “Decoration of your Cap is not permitted.” However, beginning this year that will change.

Izzy Barstow, Shaylyn Freshetti, and Alicia Katzelis, the three ladies who led this movement presented to SCM administration at a board meeting,. Barstow, Freshetti, and Katzelis compiled over 300 signatures from staff and students in a petition to change this rule and Mishawaka High School seniors are now allowed to decorate their graduation caps.

“It all started with a small conversation I had with one of my friends in speech class. I wrote out a draft to Mr. Ross (John Ross, MHS principal) about it and posted a screenshot on my story but I never sent it. A bunch of people slid up telling me about how much they wanted this to change and why,” Barstow said.

SCM had four main reasons why decoration of graduation caps was prohibited. Uniformity was one big concern. Along with competition, it being a distraction to the ceremony, and the fear of inappropriate memes/slogan. But the three ladies had their rebuttal for each.

Uniformity. Simply put, students are allowed different types of clothing underneath their robes, different shoes, and even different hairstyles; so there will not be total uniformity, no matter what.

Competition. Many schools who already allow cap decoration have portrayed no issue. But, for those students who do not have the means to decorate their caps, MHS can hold an after school event that would provide them with materials.

Distractions. The ladies believe that instead of a distraction, the decorated caps would provide entertainment for the audience in the slower parts of the ceremony. They also note that the caps should not be distracting if the students follow the given decoration guidelines.

Inappropriate memes/slogans. There will be no slander, illegal/discriminatory references, hate speech or symbols allowed.

“The biggest reason why I fought for this so hard is because of students in the past who told me that they wanted to decorate their caps with pictures of family members who passed away and couldn't see them graduate. That is when I realized that decorating caps had a huge sentimental value to students and family members and was worth fighting for,” Barstow explained.

“Graduation is meant to honor and celebrate our years of dedication, we thought that being able to decorate our caps would add something extra special for each person. It is important for us seniors to be able to express ourselves and our individual accomplishments and make graduation more personal,” said Fraschetti.

The guidelines that SCM agreed to consist of three main points. Caps will be separated by alphabetical order so they are easy to check. There will be no slander, illegal/discriminatory references, hate speech or symbols allowed. And the students will not be allowed to walk across the stage if these guidelines are not met.

Link to the presentation they gave to administration:

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