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Pinkerton seniors in military can wear sashes at graduation

Union Leader Correspondent

June 07. 2013 8:35PM

Skylar Anderson in her National Guard uniform with the sash she will be allowed to wear for graduation. (Courtesy)

DERRY — Pinkerton Academy will allow seniors who are current military members to wear service sash during graduation.

Earlier this week, senior Skylar Anderson said she and two other students who have joined the military would not be allowed to wear the sashes. Anderson joined the National Guard in January and will be going to boot camp this summer.

But on Friday, Pinkerton Academy Headmaster Mary Anderson said the students would be allowed to wear the military sashes over their graduation robes at commencement on June 17.

The headmaster said the graduation policy focuses on being fair to all graduates and celebrates the academic achievement of a high school diploma.

"To celebrate the group, Pinkerton's policy on graduation apparel promotes graduates' common success as students wear a unified cap and gown with time-honored marks of academic performance," said Mary Anderson. "Our graduation policy is designed to celebrate all, be fair to all, and not set a precedent of granting special exception."

The school always takes steps to recognize those who serve and those who will enter the military, she added.

"Pinkerton historically pays special honor to those graduates who will be entering the Armed Forces," said Mary Anderson. "During the graduation ceremony, these young men and women are specifically asked to stand and be recognized. At that time, as further tribute during our June 17 ceremony, these future proud members of the military will be invited to then put on an official sash provided to them by their branch of service. Pinkerton Academy has the utmost respect for the United States military."

Sklyar Anderson's mother, Laurie, said her daughter was initially called down to the office on Thursday and told she would not be able to wear the National Guard sash during graduation.

Anderson said her daughter has been taking part in National Guard service every weekend since January and will be going to boot camp this summer.

Next fall, Skylar plans on studying veterinary sciences at the University of Vermont and then is pledged to six years of military service following college.

"If we go to war, she could be called into service," said Laurie Anderson. "Then she has six years of service after college."

In a similar case, Brandon Garabrant, 18, of Greenfield, who graduated from Marine boot camp Friday in South Carolina, and graduates from ConVal High School in Peterborough today, must wear a cap and gown like his classmates. He is allowed to wear the uniform under his commencement robe.

ConVal Principal Brian Pickering said the decision is consistent with the school's graduation procedures.

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