High School Graduation; few moments are as meaningful or memorable. A day to reflect, rejoice and remember. A milestone worthy of a remarkable ceremony.
Here are a few tips to help you make your ceremony extraordinary.
Involve the Graduates
Every graduate has someone in the audience watching, cheering and shedding a tear. Involve more students in the ceremony and share the pride!
Recruit two or three (or more) students to do a commencement speech. Assign each of them a theme to keep it interesting. (You may want to put a 5 or 10 minute time limit on their speech too- for the sanity of the audience)
- 2 speakers – looking back, looking forward
- 3 speakers – past, present, future
- 4 or more speakers – memories, dreams, stumbling blocks, successes etc.
Pick a Graduation Theme
Giving your graduation ceremony a theme gives it character, and makes the memories special. Your program will mean so much more with a great theme. You can coordinate your decorations, songs and speeches to correlate.
- Moving on
- Looking back
- Follow your dreams
- Contributing to the world around you
A Great song can enhance your theme or be the basis of your theme.
Graduation song ideas:
- Graduation – Forever Friends
- School’s Out
- A Moment Like This
- It’s My Life
- I Will Remember You
- Drift Away
- We Are The Champions
Fill your space with celebratory decorations in festive colors or school colors.
- Helium filled balloons in school colors
- Banners congratulating the graduates
- Posters or decorations relating to your theme
- Metallic or Crepe Streamers in your colors
- Display student projects such as art, photography, woods and metals
Capture The Moment
Even with all those cameras in the audience, it’s difficult at best to capture the exact moment a grad receives their diploma. Why not do those parents a favor and have a photographer present to snap a photo of each graduate in their moment. Better yet recruit a “photography” student or teacher from within the school!
Start a New Graduation Tradition
There is no rule that says you have to follow old traditions. Go crazy and start a new tradition!
- Invite a “surprise” guest speaker; a local celebrity, news anchor or alum that’s made it big, even a parent or sibling of a graduate would add an interesting perspective.
- Gather photos, possibly from yearbook staff, of the students over the years, turn them into a slide show to be displayed throughout the ceremony.
- Have a wild & wacky finale to your ceremony- possibly one or more select students get to shave a teacher or principals head (think perfect attendance, perfect GPA, or most frequently in detention). Maybe a group of students choreographs a funky line dance and performs it, or perhaps change the words to a popular song and sing it. Get the students involved in planning, they are sure to have some great ideas.
It’s Their Moment
At a recent grad ceremony I attended the entire school district was asked to participate.Teachers that taught the kids from K-12th grade were dressed in gowns and marched in ahead of the graduates. After circling the auditorium, they formed two rows, sort of a tunnel. As the students walked through there were many hugs & high fives. It was very moving. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd.
Whatever you do to celebrate and honor your graduates, make it all about them. This is their moment. Make it a wonderful memory for them!