MANCHESTER – The cherished tradition will continue. It never was in any real danger of being eliminated anyway.
The message made its way across social media and several parents called Superintendent David Trethaway to ask: will the district be going to one color for graduation gowns?
Traditionally, the young men wear blue gowns and sit on one side of the aisle, the young women don gold gowns and sit on the other side of the aisle, during graduation.
It’s reportedly been that way since the school opened in 1978.
A petition at Change.org started circulating and gained more than 1,000 signatures to keep the colors blue for boys, gold for girls. Lakehurst resident Shanan Gilby started the petition.
The superintendent took to the district’s website to address the issue.
He reiterated the idea of changing to one color never made it beyond a casual discussion when brought up. The high school administration did get some input from students and their parents, and staff.
One commenter on social media said the idea was met with “boos” from seniors when this idea was presented, likely at a class assembly. Other parents in local social media groups said that when they asked their high school senior children about it, many didn’t care one way or the other.
“The input was that Hawk tradition is very important to all of our current students and parents as well as our alumni and there were strong feelings to keep the two colors at Manchester. I would agree with this opinion. A formal request to change to one color never really reached my desk nor was it ever discussed at the Board level. Due to the strong opinions received by the high school administrators from our students, staff, parents, and alumni, no request to change has been made to me,” Trethaway wrote. “While some schools have changed to one color for caps and gowns, there was never any one specific reason for the proposal at Manchester; it was just an idea that was considered for discussion.”
Trethaway explained a bit more at the recent Manchester Board of Education meeting that the vendor had asked if the district would want to consider going to one color.
The Manchester Times reached out to the school district for information on how much purchasing gowns, caps and tassels generally cost each year. The district did not respond by press time.