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Graduation Gown Mix-Up Has Some Students Hot Under the Collar

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SMITHFIELD — In Johnston County, the difference between this year's graduation gowns and last year's has some parents hot under the collar.

Seniors got a surprise when the graduation gowns that arrived were teal green, a shade lighter than South Johnston's traditional forest green. Whether it is school pride or national pride, a small color change can make a big difference.

"I walked through the hall with it for five minutes on Friday and everybody I passed just looked, and they were like, 'Are those our caps and gowns?' They're not the right color. I mean it's so obvious," says South Johnson senior Erika Rouille.

The different shade of green has Rouille's mom red faced. South Johnston High has already received 50 calls about the gowns.

"We've come too far and I want this to be just right," says parent Kim Rouille. "I want it to be perfect, and this is not going to make it perfect. This is not the school colors."

North Carolina Graduate Services of Spring Hope supplies the gowns. It says the change in color was caused by a change in fabric. South Johnston High says it has worked with this company for years with no problems.

"Hopefully this won't happen next year, but before we make any kind of a commitment, I'd like to personally see a sample of the color green that we're going to get," says assistant principal Herb Monson.

North Carolina Graduate Services says while it cannot change the color of the gowns this late, it may be able to provide students with a better matching tassel.

Whatever changes are made will have to be done quickly, South Johnston High's graduation ceremony takes place next Friday.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Mark Copeland, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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