JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds of local parents paid for their seniors’ graduation gowns. Instead of ‘Class of 2023′, Jean Ribault High School seniors received them saying ‘2022.’ And parents are sounding off.
“Quite a few of the parents are outraged by this because our children have worked very hard,” parent Andrea Cummings said. “They worked 12 long years to get to the point of walking across the stage with their gowns with their caps.”
Andrea Cummings is Jayce Cummings’s mom. He is graduating from Jean Ribault High School as part of the ‘Class of 2023.’
“We’re getting our gowns and for a typo like this to happen for our class, it’s heartbreaking,” Jayce said.
Jayce is among nearly 300 graduates who also received the incorrect class identification of ‘2022′ on his gown.
“This should be our year,” Jayce said. “We should be feeling special.”
Andrea added a big three at the end of Jayce’s gown to fix the typo.
“It’s kind of like their identity was somewhat taken away from them that they are not able to fully express their pride and who they are, and what they work so hard to do,” Andrea said.
The Ribault High principal Dr. Gregory Bostic sent an email to parents saying quote, “I cannot express how disappointed I am with the company for misprinting the gowns.”
The full email has been provided below.
The email added saying Jostens, the printing company, tried to fix them by baccalaureate but failed to do so. They said they are trying to fix it by graduation day – which is this Wednesday at 1 p.m. - but there are no guarantees.
Another parent I spoke with who wanted to remain anonymous said they can’t relive this moment. If it’s not fixed by Wednesday, they can’t go back.
“They are happy to be graduating, they worked so hard, but this still carries a black cloud over them, to show that that’s something that’s going to be in their head – not the greatest moment of their lives,” the anonymous parent said.
They add Jostens needs to be held accountable.
“Show us that ‘Hey, we made a huge mistake, let’s correct it; let’s rectify it the best way we can’” the anonymous parent said.
Parents paid out of pocket for these personalized gowns – ranging from $100 to about $300.
“Either make it right by Wednesday, offer us a refund or can we come to an agreement where you donate each and every child next year in the class of ‘24,” Andrea said.
The countdown is on - there are only two days left until graduation, and there is still no word on whether seniors will get the corrected gowns.
Action News Jax reached out to the Jostens and to the school, but I have not heard back.
Here is the full email from Ribault High principal Gregory Bostic:
Trojan families I wanted to reach out to touch base about our senior’s gowns. As most of you know, all of our gowns were misprinted with “Class of 2022.” I cannot express how disappointed I am with the company for misprinting the gowns. I am in constant communication with the company, but as an outside vendor there is little, I can do to ensure that this is corrected in time.
At first, Jostens promised to have this fixed at the Baccalaureate, but they have come back and said they cannot make it by then. They are trying to have it corrected by Wednesday for graduation but are making no guarantees.
I wanted to reiterate that this is not the school’s fault, not Dr. Bostic’s fault, etc. Again, I am so disappointed this happened.
If you would like to speak to Ribault’s Josten’s representative, please contact Al DeJesus at 904-728-9250.
I will provide you with updates as I receive them from Josten’s.
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