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One-of-a-kind graduation caps

Dozens of graduating seniors added personal touches to their graduation caps, bringing a special purpose to their Commencement attire.

Students wearing graduation caps with designs on them.
(Photos by Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Kenan Stadium was filled with Carolina blue caps and gowns throughout Commencement weekend. Amid all of that blue, some of those caps stood out because of the flare that some of the graduates added.

From messages of strength to nods to their passions, dozens of caps were designed with a special purpose.

Some of the students who decorated their caps share the story about their one-of-a-kind designs.

“The quotes meant a lot to my experience here and influenced the way I want to take this experience on after I move to Colorado. I even have ‘thanks, mama’ on there just to remember that I’m a first-gen. This is my family’s accomplishment. It’s not just mine. I really just want to remember that I prayed for this day and to make sure that I stay hopeful throughout the rest of my life.”

Darian Abernathy, human development and family studies 

“Never give up because it’s always worth it in the end. Follow that dream and what’s in your heart.”

Emory Herman, dental hygiene

“I decorated my hat with a chicken because I think chickens are the best pets. I live on a farm with about three dozen chickens, and they’re like my family, so it just meant a lot to have my family here.”

Joe Friedman, psychology

“It’s a verse in the Bible, and I always want to make a difference in the lives I touch.”

Allison Bullock, human development and family studies

“I’m really proud that I’ll be a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. It has been a passion and goal of mine ever since high school.”

Ariel Bryant, nursing

“I’m going to be an RBT after I graduate, which is a registered behavior technician. I put the roses on my cap because my grandmother lives in England, and I wanted a way for her to be able to notice that it’s me on the livestream. She loves roses.”

Charlotte Watts, psychology

“I’m graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and I’m headed to be a neonatal intensive care unit nurse. APGAR is an acronym we use to help measure how well a baby is doing after they’re born. For a baby nurse, you have to be adaptable, you have to have grit and you need your RN, which I’m getting soon.”

Sarah Letchworth, nursing

“I wanted to incorporate Blacks in science because I’m graduating with a chemistry degree. The molecule in the middle of the hat is melanin. The hat was designed by Chris Batts. It’s very important to me, and it’s necessary that we see more people of color in the science field.”

Miles Hennessee, chemistry

“This was a way to have everything that’s important to me with me. My parents are watching all the way from Mexico, so it was really important for me to have them on my cap, just to make them feel like they’re with me. Everything that’s meaningful to me is on my cap.”

Patsy Montesinos, media and journalism

“My parents have done so much for me my whole life, and I just want to be able to do something for them.”

Amber Smith, nursing

“It’s a pun. I’ll be going to work as a labor and delivery nurse, so ‘Nurse Jamaela at your cervix.'”

Jamaela Green, nursing