Delaney Mordhorst was feeling melancholy as she stood in line to pick up the gown and mortarboard she will be wearing for graduation.

“This is the end of an era,” the North High School senior said while paying for her graduation day attire. “There’s no going back anymore.”

On the other hand, Mordhorst’s classmate Cody Kubik was ecstatic to be so close to graduation.

“Graduating from high school is just a rite of passage,” Kubik, who will going to Western Iowa Tech Community College to study photography, explained. “I am ready to move on.”

Kubik and Mordhorst were among the students who were picking up orders placed with Jostens, a Minneapolis-based company that provides yearbooks and class rings in addition to graduation gowns and hats.

According to the company’s communications director Rich Stoebe, graduation gowns and caps have retained a sense of formality over the years.

“People still enjoy the pomp and circumstances of graduation,” he observed.

But Stoebe reasoned people also want to go green. That’s why Jostens introduced its Elements Collection graduation gowns.

“Back when I was in school, graduation gowns were made from polyester and not very nice-looking,” Stoebe said with a laugh. “Nowadays, the fabric fiber for our Elements Collection is made with wood sourced exclusively from renewable, managed forests.”

Based on scientific research, Stoebe said, the fabric used for the Elements Collection has proven to decompose in soil in one year.

Which is a good thing since graduates tend to hang onto their gowns and mortarboards for years.

“Graduates may never wear ’em again, but once they have ‘em, they wanna keep ‘em,” he said.

This is also true of class rings, which many seniors purchase when they are in their junior year.

“Class rings used to all look alike,” Stoebe said. “Now, they truly reflect the individual personality of its wearer.”

With that in mind, Jostens allows student to go on its website to design a ring of their choosing. Some prefer something traditional, like their school’s colors. Others incorporate a personal interest, like music or sports.

Kathleen Garcia said her class ring will be on her finger long after she graduates from North High School while classmate Rosa Estrada, showing off a class necklace which shows off her love of music, will be close to her heart forever.

“As much as I will miss my friends, I will always have my memories,” Estrada said, tugging on her necklace. “This will be a reminder of the good times I had in high school.”

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