Why so Blue?

Claire Densmore, Writer

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As graduation approaches, seniors are purchasing graduation caps and gowns in preparation for the big day. In previous years, the male graduates wore a royal blue cap and gown and the female graduates wore a white cap and gown. However, graduates of the class of 2015 and on will wear the same color cap and gowns as they receive their diplomas at graduation day, all in identical royal blue cap and gowns.

This change of color came about when a 2015 graduate, Elisa Lide.   Lide, who did not respond to a request for an interview, started a petition arguing that assigning females and males different colored gowns imposed gender bias.

While Lide’s petition raised awareness, according to Senior Class Advisor Lori Poleway, “The [2015] senior class student council decided to have the same color in efforts to be more unified as a class, not as individuals.”

The senior class decided that royal blue gowns would be the consolidating color for several reasons. They eliminated white because it appeared see-through which required graduates to wear light-colored clothing underneath. Red was not considered an option because, as Poleway stated, it would look like a “blood-bath.” Blue was the inevitable choice.

Tatum Beck, 2016 senior class president, said the class also chose to continue having all graduates in the same color gown because of frugality. Future graduates will be able to borrow caps and gowns from siblings and relatives who graduated from  in previous years.

While the separate colors might benefit future graduates, Thomas Worthington is the one of the few high schools in the Columbus that does not distinguish genders by color on graduation day. Worthington Kilbourne, Worthington Christian, Upper Arlington, and all Westerville schools differentiate gender by color.

Though high schools continue to uphold the tradition of different colors of caps and gowns, Thomas Worthington might be following in the footsteps of many colleges, which require graduates of both genders to walk in one color.


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