The Washington Post

Prince George’s diplomas marred by spelling error

Looks like the folks who misspelled the word “program” on thousands of high school diplomas in Prince George’s County would have been no match for Lori Anne Madison, the 6-year-old from Woodbridge who competed in last month’s Scripps National Spelling Bee.

All high school diplomas distributed last week said the county’s graduates completed an “approved progam of study.”

“I’m really disappointed,” Terrence Odom, 18, who graduated May 30 from Oxon Hill High School, said Wednesday. “I would think it would be somebody’s job to proof and reproof again, especially with something that serious.

“We were all excited to get our diplomas. Now we have to wait to get the official one.”

National Quality Products, the Fairfax County vendor that printed the nearly 8,000 diplomas, has apologized for the gaffe. So has the school system.

Prince George’s officials said they noticed the mistake last week after commencements were underway.

Briant Coleman, a spokesman for the schools, said the vendor will reprint the diplomas at no additional cost. The county paid $15,750 for the botched diplomas and an additional $6,587.50 for other certificates and shipping costs.

Prince George’s will pay to mail the new diplomas, which the students should receive in a little more than a month. Coleman said he did not know how much the mistake would cost the school system.

“We apologize for any inconvenience or disappointment this may have caused our students,” Coleman said.

It could have been worse.

The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin recently apologized for the cover of its 2012 commencement program, which left a key letter out of the word “Public” in the school’s name.

Ovetta Wiggins covers Maryland state politics in Annapolis.



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