Commencement season is underway, and along with the general excitement of graduating, the ceremony is a time to rep your set! Stoles and cords from clubs and honors associations are proudly displayed on the shoulders of gowns across the nation.
However, it looks like one particular club won't be able to represent: the Black History Club at 71st High School in North Carolina's Cumberland County.
Nearly a dozen senior club members were reportedly told they couldn't wear their stoles at graduation, ABC 11 reports.
The club seniors said that their stoles represent not only their heritage, but school pride as well, and they can't understand why their principal won't let them walk across the stage wearing their stoles. Rocking stoles isn't a new thing at 71st high school; seniors proudly displayed their gear at last year's ceremony, and will do so again this year. All except the Black History Club seniors, which is suspicious, at the very least.
"These were actually hand-knitted in Kenya," said student Deovion Holloway. "It's going to be unfair, all my other peers having their stoles on, and not being able to wear mine. Being told I can't wear mine, because it doesn't fit guidelines or my principal doesn't want to go for a certain look," he continued.
71st principal Myron Williams refused to personally comment on his decision, but Cumberland County school officials released a statement that said, "The wearing of cords or stoles outside the district-wide recognized cords are a site-based decision made by the principal."
"All the other clubs get to wear their stoles, so we shouldn't be excluded out," said club member Rashaun Hines, who also noted that the club members worked very hard this year to get their new club off the ground.
Ananda Richardson, another senior, added, "I did my part in the club, even if this is my first year. Mr. Williams should have said something way beforehand if he did not approve of the club."
Though frustrated and disappointed, the seniors believe there isn't much they can do, and fear that if they complain too loudly, the principal won't let them be a part of graduation. Thus, they plan to abide by his decision.
However, it's super unfortunate that on one of the most joyful and proud days of their lives, these students will be hindered in how they celebrate this joy and by extension, themselves.