Proud mom orders ‘Summa Cum Laude’ cake online. Publix censors it to ‘Summa … Laude.’

Palm Beach Post

Saturday was Jacob Kosinski’s big day. His whole family, many from out of town, saw the Charleston, South Carolina, student graduate from his Christian-based homeschool program with a 4.89 grade point average and the coveted honor of summa cum laude.

His mother, Cara Koscinski organized a graduation party for her 18-year-old son. For the occasion, she ordered a cake online from her nearest grocery store, Publix, which lets customers build their own cakes complete with a customized inscription, which they enter into a little message box.    

Carefully, she typed in the message she wanted on the cake: “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude class of 2018.”

The Publix software was unhappy with the word – cum. In Latin, cum is the preposition “with,” as in summa cum laude “with the highest distinction.” To the little box on the Publix website, however, the word meant something else and its sophisticated algorithm, alert for naughty words, returned a little message that said “profane/special characters not allowed.” It substituted three hyphens for “cum.”

The Post replicated her experience and got the same result.

But there was still hope. The Publix form included a section for “special instructions” for the bakery, in which Koscinski explained that Summa Cum Laude was a Latin term for high academic honor and was not profane. She included a link to a website explaining the meaning of Summa Cum Laude and said she didn’t think much about it afterward.

Koscinski said she was so busy preparing things for the celebration, that she sent her husband and sister to the store to get some last minute items and to pick up the cake.

When they returned, everyone gathered around the cake. When they opened the box, there it was: “Congrats Jacob! Summa – Laude Class of 2018.”

Jacob was “absolutely humiliated,” Koscinski said to The Post. “It was unbelievable. I ordered the special graduation edition cake. I can’t believe I’m the first one to ever write “Summa Cum Laude” on a cake.

Koscinski said she then had to explain why the grocery store censored “cum” from Jacob’s cake to her 70-year-old mother while Jacob’s friends laughed uncontrollably.

Jacob didn’t eat much of the cake after that but his mother says the chocolate and vanilla cake was delicious.

Koscinski called Publix on Monday and explained the situation to the assistant manager. She said she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else in the future. Publix offered to remake the cake. She declined.

“No,” she said, “you only graduate once.”

Publix gave her a $70 refund for the cake and a store gift card.

Jacob can now laugh about the situation and is focused on getting ready to attend Wingate University in the fall, where he received a full academic scholarship.

“Maybe I should have just gotten him his favorite-mint chocolate chip ice cream instead,” reflects Koscinski.

9 thoughts on “Proud mom orders ‘Summa Cum Laude’ cake online. Publix censors it to ‘Summa … Laude.’

  1. These are the rules or “code” of the judeo Christian’s that’s votes. Wake up and smell the Sunday brewery bill of Rights fans!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. “HuffPost spoke to Jeanne Neumann, a professor in the classics department at Davidson College, who shared this saucy tidbit about cakes and Latin over email: ‘A cake celebrating the end of a war of a simpler time might have proclaimed Gladii Omnes in vaginas recondantur! (May all swords be sheathed! (or) All swords should be put in their sheaths).’ Neumann noted that ‘vagina’ in Latin means ‘sheath for a sword.’ ”

    1. “….Neumann noted that ‘vagina’ in Latin means ‘sheath for a sword.’ ”…..”

      It means sheath for a sword in English, too.

  3. It’s not going to help. You won’t change a thing unless you smash the cake into the store manager’s face, and then beat the living crap out of him. That’s all people listen to these days. Anything less and you’ll get a steaming pile of BS in your own face.

  4. Don’t ya just want to say something raunchy and dirty in response to this stupidity! Oh boy, the places we could take this. But I’ll just leave it at


    And F*** Them.


  5. Common sense is NOT common. I am looking forward to the “Zombie Apocalypse” as it will decrease the stupid population. But on a brighter note I do have a suggestion for a bumper sticker: My honors student is smarter than your cake baker.

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