MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Eighteen-year-old Amber Holmes holds the graduation cap she had expected to wear across the stage when she graduated from Overton High School Wednesday.
She adorned it with her graduation year and plenty of dazzle.
“They said we couldn’t decorate our caps and I didn’t know that,” Amber said.
She got a wake-up call when school officials stopped her in her tracks. No adorned graduation hats allowed.
“Cap and gown is an important part of graduation. I didn’t have that. It was stripped from me. It was taken away,” Amber said.
She was allowed to march in the graduation, but she says she was the only one to not have a cap.
“I felt completely embarrassed in front of everybody. I was the only one out of 200 people walking out without a hat on,” she said.
Amber says the school never told her about the rule.
We contacted Shelby County Schools and officials told us graduates were instructed not to place anything on their caps. There was one exception for one student who had special circumstances.
The school district says everyone else except Amber complied.
Not so, according to Amber.
She sent us pictures of other students who she says also had their caps decorated as they received their diplomas.
“I told him other kids had their hats on and their shoes weren’t the requirement, and he just told me to worry about my situation,” said Amber.
“I feel like I was done completely wrong. Graduation is a memorable time you are supposed to keep that with you and mine was completely ruined,” she added.
The bottom line, parents and grads may want to check the rules before graduation day.
The Shelby County School System says it’s up to each school to set its own ceremony attire.
Those that don’t allow decorated attire do so to make sure all graduates are consistently dressed.