A break from tradition: WHS moves to uniform graduation gowns


Photo courtesy of Mary Ann McGann

WHS Graduation 2019

The class of 2022 will be the first graduating class at WHS to wear one uniform style of graduation gowns at Westfield. Going forward, graduates will now wear a blue cap and gown with, a white graduation stole.

Traditionally, WHS graduates have worn two separate colors; men wore blue caps and gowns, while women wore white. This change is a step towards inclusivity as genderqueer students aren’t forced to choose from gendered color options.

The change came with some pushback, as many parents and seniors argued that their graduation portraits were already shot in the traditional gowns.

The class of 2022 was given the opportunity to decide what the new gowns would look like and choose between three different options. “I understand why they wanted to change the colors, but it felt like they barely even gave us a choice. If they wanted us to be included in the decision, we should have had the choice to all be in blue or all be in white,” senior Brynne Conte said.

Changes from tradition have never been easy in Westfield, but the shift in graduation attire has been slowly developing over the past few years. Most notably, honor cords can now be worn by WHS graduates, but up until two years ago they were reserved for students joining the armed forces. Graduates will still be able to make themselves stand out and express themselves by decorating their graduation caps however they choose.

Senior Fiona Strout said, “I think it’s good to have a uniform color that everyone is wearing. I think a lot of people don’t like the color that we have to wear, and personally I prefer the white gowns over blue, but it doesn’t really matter when you think about what graduation is for.”

Orders for WHS graduation attire will begin on Nov. 17.