All Helena High School graduates will be issued silver gowns with red stoles for this year's commencement ceremony.

Since 2007, boys have worn burgundy and girls have worn white gowns during the HHS commencement. 

The seniors were asked to choose between white, burgundy or silver with a red stole after Principal Steve Thennis announced that the school will do away with gender-specific graduation gown colors this year. According to Thennis, 69% of seniors voted for silver gowns with red stoles, 16% voted for burgundy and 15% voted for white. 

"Based on the survey results, we will be switching to the silver with red stoles for the upcoming graduation festivities," Thennis said in an email to parents.

Thennis said the school district's supplier, Jostens, will make the color change for those who have already ordered a complete cap, gown and tassel package. The silver and red attire will be delivered next month, and students will be notified when the new gowns are ready to be picked up.

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Thennis noted that students who haven't placed an order for a cap and gown should stop by the counseling center to finalize those details. 

"As a reminder," Thennis said, "there will be no additional cost for this change."

The change came after student leaders and class of 2019 seniors proposed it to school district administrators earlier this year. Thennis ultimately decided that having students vote on a single gown color was best for all students. He based his decision on a number of factors, including a suggestion from the Office of Civil Rights that all districts move away from gender-specific gown colors. 

Prior to 2007, there were several changes to gown colors at HHS over the years. This includes multiple years when all students wore a single color. 

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