Gadsden superintendent suggests graduates wear career clothes, not caps or gowns

No more cap and gowns: 'Dress for your aspirations'

GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - An east Alabama superintendent is floating the idea of swapping caps and gowns for hard hats and lab coats.

Gadsden city school superintendent Tony Reddick told the Gadsden City Council in a work session Tuesday he’s open to graduates of Gadsden City High School dressing for their future careers on commencement day instead of wearing traditional caps and gowns.

He says instead of caps and gowns, he’s open to seeing students wearing, for instance, hard hats for utility workers or lab coats for doctors,or scrubs for nurses.

Reddick says the emphasis in his idea isn’t on banishing a tradition, but having graduates show off the future for which they’ve prepared.

“The emphasis is not so much on removing that tradition from our schools as much as emphasizing that there’s life after high school. And I like the idea of our kids achieving a certain amount of success in high school that will move them forward after high school, and celebrating that,” Reddick said.

Reddick says his idea wouldn’t ban caps and gowns but would encourage students to show off their futures and the careers for which they’ve prepared.

“It won’t totally remove the cap and gown picture, if we’re able to do that. We can have some caps and gowns set aside for those parents who want to take a cap and gown picture. And that doesn’t mean parents can’t buy caps and gowns, I don’t want to take any money away from people who’ve served us well over the years selling caps and gowns,” Reddick said. “But I think it’s showing an emphasis to the parents and the public that this is what I’m going to do after I leave high school because high school’s not an ending, it’s a beginning for a majority of our kids.”

“The emphasis isn’t on taking away caps and gowns as much as what their plans are, after high school,” Reddick said.

Reddick says a number of parents can’t afford to buy their children caps and gowns for their commencement exercises. He says students could still wear them in the commencement exercises if they like.

He says at this point it’s an idea and not a plan, and there’s no indication the Gadsden City High School class of 2019 will necessarily be wearing their future work clothes when they get their diplomas.

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