As part of the Commencement celebration, graduating seniors often decorate their caps. “My cap is a representation of who I’ve grown to be,” says Taelyr Roberts ’15.
One day during her final semester, Roberts was sitting in “Extremism” class listening to professor Jason Mohaghegh talk about an Iranian cemetery in which the government was alleged to have secretly buried slain opposition protestors in unmarked graves. By law, nothing is allowed to grow in this section of the cemetery. “Loved ones believe that is where their family member is buried, but they don’t actually know,” says Roberts. “Professor Mohaghegh told us about this grandmother who went and planted a flower in that area of the cemetery, and it was gone by the morning. That level of disrespect, even in death, is jarring to me. I wondered what if a helicopter just dumped thousands of flowers on the section?”
A poet and artist, Roberts began sketching her thoughts, which led to the painting on her cap. She considers the painting a reminder of “what if?” “We can play with a thousand what ifs on any given day, but what if we were all able to treat each other with respect?” she says. “What could we accomplish?”
Roberts placed the word “unless” in the cap’s corner to signify a quote in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” “It’s the quote I live by in daily life,” she says. “If we all took the time to care, just one person at a time, it would be a very different world. One person can make a difference.”—Donna Coco