Students, alumni and parents manage to convince Morse High School administrators to adhere to traditional colors for 2016 graduation


“The Blue and the White,
Colors ever dear to me.
Banner of Morse High, the flag of victory.
Rah, rah, rah!
Blue and the White
When we hear the battle cry,
We’ll fight for the glory of
The Blue and White of Old Morse High!
M-O-R-S-E M-O-R-S-E Blue White
Blue and White, get in and fight for Old Morse High !”

That is the school song for Morse High School in Bath, Maine, a little city that has always been rooted in tradition, and Morse High falls into that, right on down to the students identifying as “Ship Builders” because of Bath’s history of building some of the finest sailing vessels in the US since the 1700’s.

Traditionally at graduation ceremonies, young men receiving their high school diploma wore a blue cap and gown, while the young women wore white. This is said to have begun sometime in the early to mid 1950’s when the school adopted blue and white as their official colors. Prior to that, each class selected their own colors, according to former Alumni President, Troy Cunningham.

This year, it seems that a few graduating seniors were not comfortable with the sexes being separated by color, and took their concerns to school officials.

The initial response was simple…All graduating seniors would march wearing a blue cap, and gown. With all graduates wearing one color, nobody could feel singled out…except those students who respected the tradition of both colors being worn for graduation!  As news spread of this decision students complained to parents, and parents took to facebook, including Jennifer Trudell, who graduated from Morse in 1988:_Capture_1


Before long people weighed in with suggestions that parents and alumni contact school officials asking them to reconsider.

Less than 8 hours later, another parent of a graduating senior, and alumnus, Brenda Whorff Maurer posted:_Capture_

She had spoken directly to Morse High Principal Jay Pinkerton, and she told me, ” He said that they had to check with school’s legal council to revert back to white and blue. He said there were many phone calls letting the school know that many of us were very unhappy.”

Another parent reported to me that she had spoken to Regional School Unit 1 (RSU1) Superintendent Patrick Manuel, and he assured her that the decision has been made to allow individual students to decide on their own if their cap and gown will be blue or white.

All too often these days, a small group of people will be offended by something, or feel that they are not properly being acknowledged as individuals. Many times, in an attempt at being politically correct, those in positions of authority will make decisions that do not respect the fact that in the United States Of America the majority is supposed to rule.

In this case, the majority swiftly, and clearly made it known that they would be heard, and a decades old tradition will, for the most part, be upheld. A compromise was made, students wanting to wear blue may do so, and the students wanting to wear white may do so.

I am proud to have graduated from Morse, and I am proud that the community came together with builder pride to get in and fight for Old Morse High!


Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.