Portsmouth High School Forbids Seniors from Decorating their Graduation Caps

Eliza Rakaseder, paperclip staff/writer

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Portsmouth High School is among some schools that forbid personalizing graduation caps for the ceremony. Many past seniors have debated the question with their graduation council, but the school stands by their policy of having a “uniform” look during the ceremony.

PHS goes by a strict dress code for graduation, and students are only allowed to decorate their robes with tassels if they’ve either been a part of Student Council or National Honors Society. Unless a student is a part of either club, they are not allowed to decorate their robe or cap, or they will be pulled from the ceremony.

“Portsmouth High School values tradition. We want the senior class to look elegant during the ceremony and decorated graduation caps would distract that,” said senior counselor, Shanyn Grenier.

“It’s disappointing,” said 17-year-old senior Lucia Trevino, “some seniors are presidents of clubs, and they have put so much effort into them. They don’t get tassels or sashes to celebrate their efforts. At least decorating graduation caps would be a way for those students to personalize their years at PHS and visualize the accomplishments they are proud of.”

York High School allowed seniors to decorate their graduation caps two years ago when a group of seniors brought the idea up for discussion. Students wanted to be able to put the college they are attending, a tribute to their parents, or the places they are taking a gap year on the back of their cap.

Portsmouth claims they honor student voices, so allowing them to personalize their graduation caps would further emphasize that claim. Not all seniors are going to college, so everyone should be represented. If the school praises individuality, then why is decorating caps prohibited? Uniformity should not dictate individuality.