Sydney Kate Watson, arts & living editor

As finals week approaches, graduation is also drawing near. Berry’s graduation gowns are navy blue with the Berry College seal on the right-hand shoulder. Caps are the same color. However, to stick out in the sea of Berry blue, seniors have the option of decorating their graduation cap. 

Photo Courtesy Kylee Davis

While it is not mandatory, decorating your cap presents an opportunity to individualize yourself, according to senior Mary Banks Shelander. 

“I think that it’s important to personalize it because, we’re already wearing such a uniform,” Shelander said. 

Not only does a decorative cap set you apart, but it also gives family and friends a distinctive way to spot their graduate on the field of Valhalla, according to senior Brian Williams. 

“I also think [having a decorated cap is] a good way for your family to tell where you are in the crowd,” Williams said. 

Besides the functionality aspect of individualized cap designs, Williams views them as an opportunity for expression.

“I think it’s a cool opportunity and just a unique way to sort of show who you are, what your interests are and what you want people to notice you for,” Williams said. 

Photo Courtesy Kylee Davis

Neither Williams nor senior Savanna Wilkes had the opportunity to decorate their caps in their respective high schools due to school policy. 

“In high school, I wasn’t allowed to decorate my cap, so for me it’s kind of like a rite of passage to do that,” Wilkes said. 

The experience is not about decorating just to decorate, for Wilkes. She wants seniors to decorate their caps with a design that is special to them, even if no one else gets the inside joke or reference included on the cap. 

“Make it something that means something to you, not just for fun to fit in with everybody else, make it that individual thing,” Wilkes said.

Wilkes’s cap decoration is going to relate to her future career in the nursing field. 

“I’m going to be a pediatric nurse after graduation, so I’m thinking of this design that says, ‘a person is a person, no matter how small,’ it’s like Winnie the Pooh,” Wilkes said. 

Williams and senior Joe Miller are designing their cap in relation to one of their first foundational experiences at Berry: “Bro-lem.” “Bro-lem” is the term coined for the group of male students who lived on second floor Lemley from 2018 to 2019, which Morton-Lemley is shortened to “Mo-lem.” After the students bonded, they referred to their friend group as “Bro-lem.”

Photo Courtesy Kylee Davis

“I am thinking of putting a picture of me and my best friends from freshman year and senior year and putting our ‘Bro-lem’ on it,” Miller said. “They have been with me for four years and I want them at the final step.”

Williams agreed that having “Bro-lem” on their cap will be a way of immortalizing their friend group that was founded at Berry. 

“A lot of guys who were part of Bro-lem that freshman year have really fond memories and we’ve all lasted four years stuff, so I think this will be a good little final goodbye before we all go our separate ways,” Williams said. 

Shelander wants to honor her time at Berry on her cap with a defining characteristic of herself, and of her time at Berry due to her later than expected graduation date.

“Everyone that knows me knows that I have like a really big problem with being late, and I was going to put my graduate cap, in cursive or some kind of

funny font, ‘better late than never,’ but the ‘B’ would be, the Berry logo,” Shelander said. 

Photo Courtesy Kylee Davis

Senior Rachel Siler wants to not only decorate her cap with her favorite musical artist in mind, but also relate it to the numerical theme appearing in her life. 

“I’m doing something Taylor Swift themed for sure,” Siler said. “I want to do something that has something to do with the lyrics to“22” because we’re graduating in 2022, and I’m gonna be 22 in July, so it makes since to do something themed around that particular song.”

For cap decoration, there is the option of hiring an artist to create the design, or you can ornate the cap yourself. Junior Kylee Davis has been a graduation cap artist since junior year of high school. Over the course of four years, she has tried different methods of painting the caps, either painting directly on the cap itself or on chipboard. 

“I actually love this way that I do it a lot better now because it’s a lot more convenient for both me and the buyer,” Davis said. “I use what’s called chipboard, you can get it on Amazon it’s pretty cheap, it’s like this really thick card stock, almost like cardboard.” 

Photo Courtesy Kylee Davis

According to Davis, your graduation cap is a space to show who you are, and while she does have an artist business, Scribbles and Scripture, that paints graduation caps, she believes painting your own is a one-of-a-kind experience. 

“I think it’s really cool to make your own; I think it’s really special,” Davis said.

Davis’s tips and tricks for seniors decorating their own cap is by utilizing a Cricut, if that is available to you. If not, paint pens or regular acrylic paint are a great way to paint your actual cap or the chipboard. The chipboard can be either hot glued or velcroed to the cap, but make sure to cut a hole in the middle so it properly algins with the cap. Davis also recommends using a marker to make sure you do not accidently paint the cap upside down. 

“I’ll put a little pencil mark at the top so that I don’t accidentally flip it and [paint] it the wrong way,” Davis said. 

After decorating caps for four years, Davis also has learned that Mod Podge, or a clear coat sealer does not work well. Finally, Davis encourages seniors to have a clear vision of what you want before starting the hat. 

Seniors, whatever you decide to do with your graduation cap, the Campus Carrier wishes you the best for life after graduation. Congratulations on all your hard work!

Posted by Campus Carrier

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