WEST COLUMBIA

Columbia High School seniors already will endure an uncharacteristic graduation, so they asked to add their own spin to their attire.

The Columbia-Brazoria ISD Board of Trustees allowed the students to decorate their graduation caps, something that has not been allowed in years past.

Senior Shelby Nichols will attend Texas A&M University, where she plans to major in allied health to become a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner, but first, she will be one of the millions of graduating students whose ceremonies are planned unlike any others.

Although she missed out on some typical high school memories, Nichols was excited that school officials allowed their class to stand out.

“Luckily our administration has been very proactive and helping us have as much normalcy as possible,” Nichols said. “It is really sad knowing that there are traditions that we won’t be able to experience like our prom, senior awards night, walking through our elementary schools and things like that.”

“These kids have been through a lot already,” Columbia High School Principal Scott Moody said. “Something simple like this is something they deserve.”

For Nichols, her senior class and administrators, expressing creativity through their caps is a small way to incite excitement.

“I think it was definitely a morale booster,” Nichols said. “It helped to give us something new to look forward to that hasn’t been done in the past.”

Fellow senior Gustavo Garcia was another proponent for the uplifting news.

“This idea gives seniors the opportunity to express ourselves, to become creative and unique,” Garcia said. “This idea would allow us to celebrate our accomplishments and showcase our future plans.”

Unable to experience closure with his friends and teachers at school, the freedom to decorate his cap in his image has elated Garcia, he said.

It was important to have input from the graduating class to make their ceremony special, Moody said.

“They are very excited about it,” Moody said. “I want them in on the decision making. After all, it is their graduation. I wanted them to have a voice in their own graduation.”

Nichols, the class valedictorian, incorporated a maroon cap for Roughneck pride clad with jewels and flowers. It may be simple to many, but to Nichols and others, it will be one thing that will make the class of 2020 different.

“It took probably 20 minutes once everything was together,” Nichols said. “It adds more sweetness to what was already bittersweet the way our senior year went downhill.”

Through all the madness and uncertainty that came with the pandemic, Moody and administrators hope to give their more than 200 graduates the perfect send-off.

“I’m so proud of these kids and what they have had to persevere through,” the principal said. “A lot of these things will affect them.”

Cap designs could not include anything “obscene, insensitive or political,” Moody said.

“We want them rated G, not PG-13,” Moody said.

Nick Irene is a reporter for The Facts. Contact him at 979-237-0149.​

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