RICH TOWNSHIP, Ill. (WGN) — Parents and students of an Illinois high school are upset after the school distributed more than 600 graduation stoles to seniors with an unfortunate misspelling on them.
What makes matters worse is that the mistake wasn’t noticed until after some students attended their graduation ceremonies.
Yasir Bilal, a newly graduated student from Rich Township High School (RTHS), described the moment when his family noticed the gaffe as he walked across the stage, pointing out that the word ‘graduate’ was spelled ‘gradutate.’
“They could have checked before [the ceremony], because they made 600-plus,” Bilal said. “And all of them were spelled wrong.”
In a letter to community members, RTHS admitted they never checked the stoles beforehand, and said they are trying to make amends by photoshopping the misspelled word from graduation pictures.
“We understand the importance of graduation, a significant milestone that should be celebrated without such mishaps,” the letter read. “Regrettably, there was an error in the graduation sashes provided to us by our vendor, Herff Jones. This mistake went unnoticed until the sashes were distributed, and the graduates had already walked the stage, and for that, we sincerely apologize.”
The school went on to say that replacement sashes with correct spelling have been received and will be mailed to graduates with their diplomas.
Parents still expressed frustrations, including one who talked to News 2’s sister station, WGN, that said the damage is done.
“We’re terribly disappointed and appalled about how they would even pass those out to the students,” said one parent. “That would embarrass the community, the families, and even the school district should be embarrassed.”
The vendor who manufactured and supplied the stoles to RTHS students issued an apology Wednesday, taking full responsibility for the mistake.
“On behalf of the entire Herff Jones team, I want to express our sincere apologies for the
incorrect stoles that may have hindered your graduation experience,” Herff Jones president Ron Stoupa, said in the letter. “We understand the disappointment you are experiencing at the culmination of your education and the frustration this created for all involved.”