The struggle of purchasing caps and gowns


By Jonathan Headley, Columnist

Seniors! Graduation approaches as we enter the second semester of our final year in high school! Time to get our cap and gown and-wait, what? We don’t keep our gowns? Our custom made, specifically for us, and costs around $55 gowns?!

This really does not make sense. These gowns are specifically made for us, right? According to the website of our cap and gown provider, Herff Jones Inc., our caps and gowns are for the specific body shape of the customer. The informational page itself says, “Learn how these custom products can be used in your school.” Now, that could mean customized with school colours, emblems, and things like that, but everything I’ve been told is that these gowns are for the wearer’s individual body shape.

Another item found on the Herff Jones Inc. website is the order forms. Whether it’s online or the form you received at a senior meeting, you need to give your height and weight, confirming my suspicion of individual gowns for individual people. You’re probably thinking, “That’s odd, why would the school tell us that we have to return our gowns then?” I have the same question.

“It is my understanding that the robes are very expensive.” says Senior Liaison and Assistant Principal Josh Cooley, “so we rent them from a company, similar to renting a tux for prom.”

So, we’re not buying the gowns, we’re renting them? I was told that we were buying them! If we rent them then of course we need to return them, but every single administrator, councilor, students even, have been saying, at least to me, that these are a purchase. This is very odd how these gowns are only rentals. I mean, $55! For a rental!

Rental for the gowns is pretty ridiculous. Graduation is a momentous occasion where we are honored for everything we’ve achieved in high school. Graduation pushes us into adult life. It’s something that most students want to remember, and all we get to keep is a cap. Similarl to the suit you get married in, you want to keep your gown as a reminder of what you’ve accomplished. No one wants to pay $55 for something they don’t even get hold on to.