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From 'Thanks, Mom And Dad!' To 'Done With This B.S.' — What Graduation Caps Say About This Generation

graduation cap
Claire Caulfield/KJZZ
KJZZ's Claire Caulfield decorated her cap when she graduation from ASU in 2017.

As images of college graduates walking across that stage in their caps and gowns have dominated our social media feeds over the last few weeks, you might have noticed a trend that’s taking off. Their graduation caps — those mortarboards sitting on top of their heads — are decorated.

They say things like “the best is yet to come” or “Thanks, Mom and Dad!” Some are decorated with pictures of their dog, or a superhero or Cardi B. Some are political and some are decorated in glitter. You can even buy an expertly decorated mortarboard on Etsy.

What do these caps say about this generation of students? Sheila Bock might just have the answer.

Bock is a folklorist and associate professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and she has  studied these mortarboardsand why students are creating them.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to correct the spelling of Sheila Bock's name.

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.