On Sunday afternoon, seniors in Parkland, Florida gathered with friends and family to celebrate their high school graduation. But while the day would have been a joyous occasion during any other year, four members of the graduating class died in February's school shooting, and many Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduating seniors decorated their caps to remember their missing peers.
The school's graduation took place just months after a gunman killed 17 students and staff on Feb. 14. After the massacre, a group of MSD students rallied together to call for gun control reform on a local and national level. This energy persisted through commencement exercises, if regalia was any clue.
Some cap decorations, like one worn by senior David Hogg, who has become one of the most visible student spokespersons for gun control, were overtly political. According to photos, Hogg colored his cap orange, the color which represents gun control activism. He also attached a "price tag" purporting to represent how much NRA money has Marco Rubio received, divided by how many the number of students in Florida.
"Thanks for the tassel," Hogg wrote on Twitter on Sunday, tagging the Florida senator.
One student pasted a photo on hers, which appeared to be decorated with orange paper, scrawling, "We will fight for you" with the word "Imagine" and four sets of initials. Others opted to decorate their caps with variations of the slogan "MSD Strong," which took off in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Since February, all eyes have been on MSD as its students have organized marches while simultaneously grieving the sudden, violent losses from their community. Decorating graduation caps was just one of the many ways that student activists have ensured that the gun control and school safety conversations keep getting attention.