When Cara Koscinski, the proud mom of a South Carolina student, ordered a cake to celebrate her son’s high school graduation, she never expected the cake to go viral. Her son Jacob had graduated summa cum laude from his homeschool program, and the entire family was in town to celebrate. But when Koscinski opened the cake box, the cake read “Summa — Laude.”
The Publix that she ordered the cake from had censored the word “cum,” misinterpreting its meaning within the context of the Latin honors. When Koscinski first placed the order, she said that Publix’s online system rejected the word “cum.”
In Latin, the word “cum” is a preposition when used in the context of “summa cum laude,” which means “with the highest distinction.” It’s an honor bestowed to graduates who have achieved some of the highest GPAs of their class. But the grocery chain’s ordering system didn’t know that. To Publix, “cum” was just a dirty word.
As a workaround, Koscinski explained the meaning and context of the word “cum” in the special instructions part of the online order form. When the big day came, Koscinski was too busy party planning to notice the error until they opened the cake in front of friends and family.
In a Facebook post about the incident, Koscinski expressed frustration with Publix and the “total embarrassment” that the cake caused. Apparently, the alternative meaning of the word “cum” had to be explained to several guests, including Koscinski’s 70-year-old mother – much to her son’s humiliation.
“I had to explain to my friends and family …what that meant. And they were giggling uncontrollably. At least my friends were,” Jacob Koscinski (her son) told WCIV-TV.
Koscinski reached out to Publix, and they offered to make another cake. Koscinski declined, as the celebration was already over. Publix refunded her the full $70 for the cake and gave her a store gift card.
With the cake debacle behind them, Koscinski and her son are now able to laugh about the situation. She says that the attention the whole situation has received online is “crazy.”
“But we are laughing about it,” Koscinski said.
On the upside, sounds like it was an unforgettable graduation.