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Cap Consternation!

IHS seniors feel left out about cap decorating decision-making

Principal Gurk explaining graduation exceptions.

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On Tuesday, March 28, Ionia High School’s Principal Benjamin Gurk and 2017 faculty Class Representative Mrs. Lindemer hosted a senior meeting in the Learning Center in which both explained the upcoming plans for graduation and important topics that pertain to the final months of the seniors’ journey through high school.  One rule seemed to catch many seniors’ attention: seniors are not allowed to decorate their caps for this year’s graduation ceremony.

After the new enforcement of this rule was announced, there was chatter throughout the room.

Senior Kaitlyn Knauss states, “It’s ridiculous, we can’t express ourselves or follow a tradition. A privilege has been taken away from us. This is an outrage.”

Senior DrewAnn Gladding explains, “[The school administration] can check caps when we meet at Rather Elementary, we paid for them.”

Should seniors be able to decorate their caps?

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Senior Hale McDiarmid states simply, “Our property, so why not?”

It was very difficult to find any seniors who are opposed to students being able to decorate their graduation caps.

Senior Brian Hamilton had an interesting perspective on the cap debate. Brian, like many other seniors, believes that the tradition of graduating caps is important to retain because many underclassmen look to the decoration as a fun symbol of graduation. Hamilton, who recently unexpectedly lost his mom, planned on honoring her with his cap; “The graduation experience was something both my mom and I were looking forward to, so I felt I should honor her on my cap.” Hamilton also believes that many seniors were not consulted in the process of decision making, “I told Principal Gurk that I thought 95% of seniors would be okay with caps being decorated.”

IHS Principal Benjamin Gurk had a different perspective on the issue. Principal Gurk commented, “I hope for a classy and dignified graduation ceremony. Drawing on caps doesn’t necessarily add to the class of the ceremony but has great potential to detract from it.” Principal Gurk made it clear that the decision has been made, and it was made after talking to multiple community members and parents.

Although the decision has been made, many seniors are clearly upset that an apparent high school tradition will likely come to an end. Students at Ionia High School have started a petition to the school board, that they hope would allow the district to take action to reverse the decision.

Group of students discussing the decoration of caps with Principal Gurk.

 

 

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7 Comments

7 Responses to “Cap Consternation!”

  1. Amy Bongard on March 28th, 2017 2:23 pm

    Sounds like principal Gurk is more worried about being “Classy ” than worried about his students. Seems they would spend more time on IMPORTANT things other than tearing apart something most of our Seniors have been looking forward to doing! 😡

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  2. Mackenzie on March 28th, 2017 2:31 pm

    It is ridiculous. We paid for our cap and grown so I feel like we should be able to do what we want with it! Every other class got to do it and now he wasn’t to step in and change it all so he can look “classy” well Ionia isn’t a place of “classy” people, we are a place that shows our proud of being a bulldog so why not be able to show our proud on our caps! And we worked 13 years to get to this moment so why take it all way!!

    [Reply]

  3. Dan Spicer on March 29th, 2017 10:21 am

    Tradition is to not decorate them. That’s the long standing tradition. I think you kids forget that it’s the schools event for you. Not the other way around. You are representing the school. The fact that this is such a huge deal is funny to me. You’ll see but there are so many more important things to worry about then a silly cap that wear for only a few hours at most.

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    Rhyleigh Reply:

    I don’t think you understand that our school has been doing this for quite a long time now. It’s our way to express ourselves ONE LAST TIME. Let us decorate and move on with our lives.

    [Reply]

  4. Justin Rickert on March 30th, 2017 11:02 am

    I would like to start that I myself am not artistically and did not plan to decorate my cap in anyway. This being said I know that among a vast majority of my peers this is an incredibly important thing to do for self expression. It’s a way to symbolize the culmination of 13+ years of school. It’s supposed to honor the people who have helped you along, express what you have learned in your time, and make the individuals unique. I feel that if the only problem is a fear of being inappropriate then Principal Gurk can inspect each and every cap when we meet at Rather before graduation.

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  5. Christi L. Sanicki on March 30th, 2017 2:30 pm

    Whether it is a “tradition” or a “trend” it is something that is important to the students and there is no harm that can come of it so why not let it happen. One person gets to decide the fate of all the Seniors? That is ludicrous in my opinion. The Principal is hung up on the issue of this being a “formal” event but is neglecting to see all of the additional things that go into it to the commencement ceremony that make it a “formal” event. The music playing, the procession lines, the speeches given by the Valedictorian, the handing out of diplomas and the turning of the tassel. Those are what make this a “formal” event. The fact that some students may be sitting in their chair with a decorated cap, takes away from NONE of the formality of the ceremony.

    [Reply]

  6. Saudia on March 30th, 2017 5:16 pm

    I think bringing forward guidelines on what’s allowed and not allowed (do: show school spirit, don’t: use profanity, for example). Seems like the students could come up with a set of guidelines, and take ownership that the principal would agree with.
    My perspective is that no one wants a bunch of expletives or things that break school rules- they want to reflect their individuality, in a Sea of similarity.
    I would also note that you guys have huge graduating classes, and having individualized caps makes it easier for us to find you in the crowd 😉

    [Reply]

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Cap Consternation!