Learn the story behind the cap

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Annabella Mireles

Graduate Lourdes Jimenez decorates her cap to symbolize her journey commuting to and from her campus, and her dedication to earn her degree.

Maria L. Guerrero Duran, Web Editor

As graduates line up to enter the venue, shaky hands, nerves and pounding hearts fill the chairs and walk up the stage. The colorful regalia decorating the shoulders of students symbolizing their accomplishments over the last few years becomes a staple piece for the commemoration of the moment.  

The end of their college career symbolizes a milestone for graduates who have overcome moments of stress, self-doubt and maybe even existential crises. For so many, commencement is the opportunity to share with their family and friends the path they went through while in college, hence why the decoration of graduation caps became a widely celebrated tradition.   

Whether it be to mock their emotional situation, ask for jobs or share a sweet message with their loved ones, decorating graduation caps gives the opportunity for graduates to be thoughtful and express themselves one last time  

Lourdes Jimenez, a recent graduate with a bachelor of science in biochemistry, shared how she wanted to commemorate her journey finally coming to an end.   

“I wanted to make a tribute to the sacrifices made by me and my loved ones so I could be walking that stage, which is why I chose the Santa Fe bridge with the U.S. and Mexico flags as a scenario,” Jimenez said. “It was a particularly marking moment in my career when I had to commute biking and it set a before and after in me as a person, as it helped me show myself what I was willing to do to pursue my degree.”   

Jimenez’ cap features her riding her bicycle to cross the border. UTEP is on one side with the Lone Star on the back and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on the other, with some landmarks of the city. Not only does her cap portray the sister cities, but also a sunrise sky on the back, representing the characteristic hues of the desert.  

“The end result was a beautiful and gorgeous piece of work that made my parents and I very emotional and proud to look back and see how far we had come,” Jimenez said. “It is a token that I will treasure deeply for years.”  

Jenny Cantu, a May graduate with a bachelor of business in marketing, walked the stage with a painting of her family and pets. It included the quote “Gracias a mi equipo favorito,” a reference to her being a soccer player.   

“I wanted to honor my family efforts and let them know that they are the most important thing for me,” Cantu said. “Being between two different cities, cultures, ideas and languages is not easy, but having your family supporting you helps you to go through everything easier.”   

The sentiment behind the art and creativity the students put into decorating their graduation caps summarizes the struggles, sacrifices and joys of college, it also shares with the rest of the attendees a piece of history that can later be revisited by the graduates.  

Congratulations to the fall 2022 graduates. Go Miners!   

Maria L. Guerrero Duran is the web and copy editor and may be reached at [email protected]; @bymariaguerrero on Instagram and Twitter.