North Stafford Caps

Students share messages on their caps at the graduation ceremony at North Stafford High School in 2018.

At some high school graduation ceremonies, a sea of uniform-colored hats can be seen from the audience.

But, at a growing number of local graduation ceremonies, the caps are carrying a sea of messages — many of them personal to the graduate. A military recruit may write “Army Strong,” while others shout out to their parents in colorful letters, “I did it, mom!”

High school seniors spoke to the Prince William County School Board on April 9 to ask for permission to decorate their graduation caps this year.

A Patriot High School student told the school board that students buy the caps and want to be unique and show their celebratory feelings. Students from Forest Park and Woodbridge high schools told the board that allowing decorated caps would be a great chance for students to show their creativity.

Superintendent Steve Walts told seniors, via Twitter, that he would discuss the issue with principals, with the final decision left up to school administrators.

Roger Dallek, acting principal at Gar-Field High, said he is not allowing seniors to decorate caps for several reasons. To keep in line with tradition, “our policy is our students graduate together and on an equal footing,” he said. Dallek said by not allowing decorated caps, school administrators also are preventing any inappropriate messaging on caps.

Finally, Dallek said his staff has to make sure students show decorum and meet the school’s dress standard, so examining decorated caps would be more responsibility for staff.

High schools allowing decorated caps: Battlefield, Brentsville, Colgan, Hylton, Osbourn Park, Potomac, Stonewall Jackson and Woodbridge.

High schools not allowing decorated caps: Forest Park, Freedom, Gar-Field and Patriot.

Counting Down to Graduation Day

Ceremonies are just around the corner for schools in and around Prince William County.

Ceremonies at the school site:

• Brentsville District High School, 12109 Aden Road, Nokesville - May 31, 7 p.m.

• Colgan High School, 13833 Dumfries Road, Manassas - June 1, 9 a.m.

• Manassas Park High School, 8200 Euclid Ave., Manassas Park - June 8, 9 a.m.

• PACE WEST, 14550 John Marshall Highway, Gainesville - May 23, 12:30 p.m.

Ceremonies at Jiffy Lube Live, 7800 Cellar Door Drive, Bristow:

• Battlefield High School - June 5, 1:30 p.m.

• Patriot High School - June 4, 7 p.m.

• Potomac High School - June 3, 2 p.m.

• Stonewall Jackson High School - June 3, 7 p.m.

Ceremonies at EagleBank Arena, 4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax:

• Forest Park High School - May 31, 2 p.m.

• Freedom High School - June 1, 2:30 p.m.

• Gar-Field High School - May 31, 7 p.m.

• Hylton High School - June 1, 7 p.m.

• Osbourn High School - June 11, 7 p.m.

• Osbourn Park High School - June 1, 9:30 a.m.

• Thomas Jefferson High School - June 8, 7 p.m.

• Woodbridge High School - May 31, 9:30 a.m.

Ceremonies at other sites:

• Independence Nontraditional School, Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas - June 6, 6 p.m.

• School of Practical Nursing, Osbourn Park High School, 8909 Euclid Ave., Manassas - June 7, 6:30 p.m.

• Summer School and Adult Education, Woodbridge High School, 3001 Old Bridge Road, Woodbridge - Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m.

(1) comment


If InsideNova wants to be the local paper of record, I would expect you to get the names of our local high schools correct. There is no such thing as Manassas High School, the name is Osbourn High School. Osbourn is one of the oldest high schools in Northern Virginia and I’m flabbergasted that the author of this article got this wrong. Please do better in the future.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.