From Principal Adams | Caps and Gowns

February 1, 2021

Dear Senior Class Parents/Guardians and Students:

I hope you are all healthy and strong. It’s hard to believe we are almost at the mid point of the school year! The Senior Class Advisors and I have been diligently preparing for class activities such as Prom, Senior Trip and Graduation. In many cases we are planning for multiple options that account for current and potential guidelines. However, there are no certainties that these opportunities will be allowed to take place, but we are planning steps that will protect everyone and the class from some of the monetary losses. As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic has been ever evolving and unpredictable, which leaves us in the position of planning for an optimistic second half of the year, but prepared for unforeseen decisions or events.

For anyone unable to attend the Senior Class Parent Meeting on January 26, I am writing to you to recap the graduation cap and gown information that was shared.

A Brief History of Cap and Gowns at LHS

During the 1940’s LHS graduating classes went through several transitions in terms of graduation caps and gowns. Up until that point, there was a one color cap and gown worn, and from graduation photos that appears to be the color black or red. Over the period of 1940 to 1950, graduation photos depict various  changes from mostly one color cap and gown, to red caps and gowns for male students, and white caps and gowns for female students, back to one color cap and gown, a transition to no cap and gown and simply dress clothes, and then back to the gender specific red and white format and mostly single color format several times.

In the October of 2019, the Class of 2020 Senior Class Advisor Assistant at the time brought to my attention, and to the attention of our Building Leadership Team, a request from the class to discuss changing our graduation cap and gown color to be the color red for all students. Members of the class had discussions and asked that there be consideration for the change to red cap and gowns to allow for inclusiveness, unity, and solidarity for all students regardless of perceived, or expressed gender, or background. Moreover, each preceding class of approximately ten years had brought up the desire to discuss moving to one color cap and gown. Over that period of time, several students were granted the option to wear a cap and gown that did not correspond to their birth gender.

Rationale For Change

The Building Leadership Team (BLT is a shared decision making group of teachers, support staff, students, parents, and building administration) discussed the request at the October and November 2019 meetings and considered the inclusiveness that changing to one color cap and gown would afford our students and the opportunity for them to be included in a unified graduation ceremony where all students were considered a graduate without the need to identify as a gender to determine their cap and gown color. In addition, we can only postulate the possible basis of the decision during the 1940’s to have male students wear the primary school color of red, and female students wear the secondary school color of white in the midst of the women’s suffrage (the movement to give women the same rights under the constitution as men) movement. The recommendation from the BLT to me was to change the cap and gown color to red for all students so that everyone would enjoy the privilege of a uniform accomplishment. The decision was made and the Class of 2020 became the first class where all students wore red caps and gowns for both the virtual and in person ceremony. There was no concern expressed over the change until a couple of weeks ago.

Our Current Reality and Conclusion

Notwithstanding the previous explanation for the decision, we have our current reality. A parent expressed to me in the first week of January their concern over the cap and gown color change. I added their concern for discussion at our BLT meeting the following week. Due to the lateness of the request, we contacted our vendor whether any change in our timeline would allow us to get the caps and gowns on time for our graduation ceremonies. The reply was that any change in our deadlines would jeopardize getting the products on time, and that the manufacturer is already considering this to be their busy season, which has never happened so early.

Due to the aforementioned facts, I have been reluctant to make a decision that could jeopardize receiving our caps and gowns on time. However, I am cognizant of the fact that the Class of 2021 has missed out on many opportunities and much of the joy that comes with senior year. Therefore, for this year, each graduate from the Class of 2021 will be able to choose whether their cap and gown will be red or white for graduation. Next year, I intend to have us return to the solidarity of red caps and gowns for each graduating class. If upcoming classes would like further discussion regarding the color of caps and gowns for graduations in the future, I will avail myself to receive feedback, considerations, and discussions providing they occur within the first quarter of the school year.

Please note that this change may create further instability with our graduation activities if the caps and gowns are not received on time. In addition, the following process must be followed in order for each graduate to choose a red or white cap and gown option. Anyone who does not make their choice by the deadline of Monday, February 8, at 8 a.m, will have a red cap and gown ordered for them.

Cap and Gown Color Choice Process

Fill out the form, LHS Class of 2021 Cap and Gown Color Choice, stating your choice of a red or white cap and gown by Monday, February 8, at 8 a.m.
Not filling out the form or not expressing your choice will result in a red cap and gown being ordered.

More information about Class of 2021 related activities will be sent from our advisors, Ms. O’Donnell, and Ms. Fuentes.

Thank you for your continued patience and support. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Stay safe, and healthy.

All the Best,

Derek Adams

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