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Q: I was at the Payson High School graduation. It was hot and yet the boys were wearing black caps and gowns. That seems like cruel and unusual punishment and gender discrimination. Why don't all the students wear purple like the girls do?

A: When you're dealing with tradition, a rationale can be hard to come by. At one time, the girls wore white caps and gowns and the boys purple, but that changed to the current configuration sometime in the mid-90s, according to Grace Popelier, secretary to the PHS principal.

She believes each senior class makes the decision about cap and gown color and could change it if it wanted to. Popelier doesn't know why the boys wear one color and the girls another, but many other schools do the same thing.

Incidentally, at Payson Center for Success High School graduation both males and females wear green caps and gowns.

Call 474-5251, ext. 147, to reach Roundup's What's Up? line. Leave your question on the answering machine and we'll try to find the answer.

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