FREMONT - One Ross High School senior stood outside the auditorium and watched through a window as her 252 classmates walked across the stage and received their diplomas Sunday.
Mikala Bartson was banned from participating in the ceremony because she painted her graduation cap, violating the school's policy against altering graduation attire.
Bartson tweeted Sunday she would not be walking at graduation because she decorated her cap, breaking the school's rules.
She had painted on her cap a depiction of "The Great Wave of Kanagawa," a well known print by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai displayed in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Bartson, an honor student, said Monday she did not mean to offend anyone by her actions and was fully aware she would not be permitted to walk at graduation if she did not change her cap.
She said she refused to wear a plain cap even though it meant she would be banned banned from being inside the auditorium at Terra State Community College where the ceremony was held.
"What I did was in my mind a simple way of standing up against a closed-minded school system for a purpose I believed in," Bartson said.
Bartson plans to continue her education at Bowling Green State University and major in speech pathology.
Not walkin today!!!! :)))— Mikala (@mikalabartson) June 4, 2017
Fremont City Schools Superintendent Traci McCaudy told The News-Messenger Monday that all students and parents are required to sign contracts at the beginning of the school year regarding graduation attire.
"If students are not dressed appropriately, we have extra shoes, clothes, gowns and caps that they are offered prior to the ceremony," McCaudy said.
Sunday's ceremony was moved from Ross' Don Paul Stadium to Terra State due to inclement weather.
While Ross does not name a valedictorian, each student ranking in the top five of their class addressed their classmates, faculty and family in attendance.
Those students included Caleb Calvillo, Edward Dorobek, Jared Fox, Logan Laurer and Jacob Paxson.
Mansfield News Journal