It’s that time of year again when the seniors are handing in their final assignments, taking their last tests and finally finishing that degree they’ve been working on for the last four years. An additional right of passage for many students, whether it’d be high school or college, is the opportunity to decorate their graduation cap.

Not only serving as an easy way for your family to pick you out in the large mass of black gowns, decorating your cap can be an exciting way to add personality to the big day. While some have probably been planning their design since the day they got their acceptance letter, others will still be waiting for the hot glue to dry as they run to the ceremony.

Samantha Moore / Art Director

Samantha Moore / Art Director

In previous years, Keene State College (KSC) students were not allowed to decorate their graduation caps. Graduating senior Danielle Cobleigh started a petition for other seniors, like herself, to be able to decorate their cap how they please.

Graduating senior and volleyball captain Brooke Hatanaka was excited to have the opportunity to decorate her cap.  When Hatanaka graduated in 2013 from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, she wasn’t allowed to decorate her cap.  “I think it’s a really great idea. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to decorate it here at Keene. I feel like I’ve accomplished so much here these past four years, from playing volleyball to accomplishing and surviving [a] mathematics degree,” Hatanaka said.

She continued, “I just want to show how proud I am and give thanks to everyone that supported me through college.”

Senior Marissa DePolo, is involved in many different things on the campus of Keene State College (KSC). She’s involved in Student Government, Phi Sigma Sigma, First-Year Orientation, an employee of the Young Student Center, cardiac research for the biology department, Order of Omega, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the National Society of Leadership and Success. She said she thinks decorating graduation caps is a great idea.

“I think that decorating the caps is an awesome idea because it gives students a way to express themselves beyond sashes and cords, which every student may not have or choose to have. I think it is also a fun way for students to display their time at Keene and where they will be going and what they will be doing post-graduation,” DePolo said.

She continued, “I would also like to give a shout out to Danielle Cobleigh for petitioning for this change and working so hard to make it happen and Student Government for being cap monitors during commencement.”

In an e-mail sent out to seniors, Cobleigh stated the following:

Graduating Seniors:

For those of you who do not know us, we are Laura Graham (Student Body President), Danielle Cobleigh (Student Body Vice President) and Noah Macri (Senior Class President). Commencement is upon us and we are very excited to announce that this year, seniors will be able to decorate our caps at commencement. We have put a lot of work into making this an option and we would truly appreciate your support and cooperation with this. There are guidelines  that need to be followed to honor the importance of commencement. We will have people checking caps during line-up on the morning of Commencement. If something is deemed inappropriate, you will be asked to  immediately remove it and you will be provided a new cap to wear. There is to be no fighting with the  people checking caps on whether something is appropriate; it is up to their discretion, so please use your best judgment when decorating your caps. Please do not make us regret our decision to propose this to the president and cabinet of the school. You guys spoke, we listened and we made it happen. Please follow the guidelines below so that future graduating class’ will also have this privilege.

Cap Decorating Suggestions:

*Highlighting your participation in Student Organizations, Sport Teams, Majors, etc on campus.

*Your future plans

*Appropriate quotes about graduation

*Fun and appropriate things celebrating.

Please Refrain from:


*Alcohol/ References

*Drug References

*Sexual Innuendos

*Anything you would not want your family members or those of your peers to see.

Please remember that words matter. Let’s represent ourselves withdignity and respect for all! If anyone has questions, please feel free to e-mail any of us!


Laura Graham

Danielle Cobleigh

Noah Macri, Student Body President

Student Body VP Class of  2017 President

“A lot of seniors were talking about how it sucked that  weren’t able to allowed to decorate our caps [in high school] , so I brought it up to the senior class eboard and found that they had heard the same things from people,” Cobleigh said.

She continued, “I brought it up to President Huot at one of her meetings with the Student Gov. executive board and she told me to write a formal proposal and take it to the Student Assembly. If they endorsed it, she and the cabinet would consider it.”

Cobleigh wrote a proposal and received both the Student Assembly’s endorsement, along with the senior class eboards endorsement. “We gave it to the president and the cabinet. Then we got approved,” Cobleigh said. However, the only way the students would be able to decorate their caps is if there was a list of guidelines all students had to follow, Cobleigh added. 

Shelby Iava can be contacted at

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