Dignity or Fun?

Kate Brown, Editor

With senior year coming to an end, seniors begin to think about graduation day. After attending many graduations,the recurring question for many seniors is, “why doesn’t Ipswich decorate their graduation caps?” The answer is simple; we can’t.

After seeing several other schools with their students’ caps decorated with stickers, sparkles, etc. it was something the class looked forward to doing, at least many of us. Something so small, seemed to be so much fun. Not only would it be a perfect senior week activity, but we wouldn’t all lose our caps. At the end, when every senior tosses their cap in the air, how do they expect us to find ours when they all look the same? At least if we could decorate them, it would be easier to find our caps without picking every single cap up.

Determined to find the reason behind this question, the assistant principal, Mr. Carovillano, at Ipswich High School was questioned. When asked why seniors at IHS couldn’t decorate their caps, he said, “We want our school to look dignified and in uniform.” This makes sense because there will always be the few students who put unnecessary decorations on their caps, but why ruin it for everyone else? After having a conversation with him, it made sense to have every student look the same on graduation, and make our class look like a whole.

When Mrs. Panciera, an English teacher at IHS, was confronted with the same question she said the same exact thing. She said that the students must all be in “uniform” with one another. One statement she made was incredibly surprising. She said that “if students show up to graduation with their caps decorated, we will just give them a blank one before they walk.”

Other graduating seniors from various schools confirmed that they were allowed to decorate their caps, and it wasn’t a big deal. Juliette Fenton, a graduating senior at Beverly High School, said, “Yeah, we could decorate our caps; no one really ever said we couldn’t.” So, if no one asked if Ipswich High School seniors were allowed to decorate our caps, would they have told us? Would we just have to show up and find out when they take our caps from us? Beverly wasn’t the only high school who had the opportunity to decorate their caps; Hamilton Wenham, as well as Whittier Technical Vocational School was also allowed too.

When a current senior at Ipswich High School, Shanelle Taylor ,was asked if she knew whether or not seniors could decorate their caps, she responded with, “I have no idea”. After sharing that we could not, she said that she, “was excited to decorate it, maybe even with the whole class.” Her statement is in agreement with many others.

I asked myself, “Has this always been the policy? When was it initiated? Is it a written policy from the School Committee? Did something happen one year that made this policy come into effect?” It seems to me that an open and frank discussion regarding this should happen before graduation. The faculty and seniors should be able to have a dialogue that answers the above questions and give insight into how and why this policy came into effect.