Opinion: Graduation gown design should be put to a vote

Meghan Maier, Assistant Online Editor

For at least the past six years, the Fenton High students have worn two different colored caps and gowns, according to Fentonian archives. Girls wore white gowns while the guys donned black. The graduating class of 2022 was shocked at their class meeting on Sept. 28 to find out that this tradition was changing this year and they didn’t get a say in the final decision, when it should have been put up for a vote. 

A decision was made to change the caps and gowns to be all one color to show uniformity within our school. The new gown design is black gowns for all students with orange on the bottom of the sleeves, and the Fenton ‘F’ on the left arm. 

When the gowns were revealed, a majority of the senior class was not excited. According to a poll posted on Fenton InPrint Instagram, 80 percent of those that voted expressed that they did not like the new graduation gowns.

When students expressed that they were not happy over the gown change, they were told that there was nothing that could be done about it. The students at FHS have always been told that their voice matters and to speak up, but in this case, the student body wasn’t even aware that the change was happening, much less have a say in it. 

When asked on the Fenton InPrint Instagram, “Should the entire student body have been able to vote on changing the graduation gowns?” 91 percent of respondents voted yes, believing that they should have gotten a say in the change. 

Senior Fiona Dunlop stated that the reasons for this change include the following: wanting uniformity for the senior class “after they have been through a lot in the past 18 months,” gender inclusivity and most schools in the area only have one color amongst other reasons. The decision was brought up by Fenton Youth Initiative (FYI), and the administration went along with the idea and voted for the change. While there is validity behind the reason for change, students wish they had a say in the new design. 

Instead of adding the orange cuffs and ‘F’, we should just stick to a solid black gown for all students to be unified. This compromise can help in making sure that students’ voices are heard. 

Students are urging the FHS administration to reconsider their stance on the finality of the gown decision and to allow students to use their voice and put the change in gowns to a senior class vote.