Gina Warren / Twitter

Student Sends Powerful Message By Decorating Her Graduation Cap With Code Honoring Shooting Victims

The Feels

Gina Warren is a member of the Teak Valley High School graduating class of 2019.

When it came time to decorate their graduation caps, people were expecting glitz, sparkle, bright colors, etc. from her.

That's not what she went with. Instead, Gina opted for a simple design that made a statement.


Sitting around with her friends, the group—like so many others across the nation—got to discussing how they would decorate their graduation caps.

That's when she got her idea.

Gina explained to KDKA News:

"I want to honor them more than anything. Nobody that I know personally has been affected by gun violence, but it's just so heartbreaking to see all these kids who have the same lives as me and my friends. They play the same sports and learn the same subjects. I know that this can happen anywhere and I just constantly put myself in the shoes of the people in these communities."

She decided to combine her tech skills with her desire to make a statement and came up with a simple, bold plan. In a sea of colorful graduation caps, Gina's will stand out.

It will be bold, black and white, and won't say anything at all.

Instead, Gina has opted for a scanable QR code that leads to a website she built.

The site simply states:

"i graduated. these high school students couldn't."

It then lists the names of school shooting victims from the last 20 years. It's a long list.

The list is uncomfortably, tragically, long.


After she shared her cap design with Twitter, responses came pouring in.

People were really moved by it.





Except "this guy"—there's always a "this guy."

Pro tip: Nobody ever, ever, likes the "this guy" who, for whatever reason, can't handle good things and needs to make it about stuff that it's just not about.

"This guy" had a lot to say:






Once Gina dealt with the troll that seems to come standard-issue with these sorts of posts, it was time to move on to improving her work. What started out as Gina working alone soon became something of a community project.

People helped her with formatting issues, corrections on spellings, adding names that were missed etc...

Everyone came together to try and make it as perfect a tribute as it could be.





Soon, her idea started to spread to other graduating students.

Gina took the time to share the QR code with everyone who asked—and lots of people asked.






People whose lives were personally changed by school shootings spoke up to thank Gina for her work.










This QR code will be seen in graduations at different high schools around the country and it's thanks to Gina and the Twitter community who came together to make it the best it could be.

Listen to the kids, folks. They've got a lot to say.