Plan An High School Graduation
Seniors are disappointed that the pandemic has ruined their final academic year. Students have switched to online courses, and senior trips have been postponed due to safety issues and social distancing criteria.
With no longer being able to perform in-person graduation ceremonies, schools have trouble celebrating and honoring their graduating class.
How do you plan a high school graduation ceremony? Amid this pandemic, many are shifting to virtual commencement ceremonies to mark the occasion. The first thing to do to honor the graduating class in a meaningful way is to redefine the program. Next is to establish the framework.
Some states allow face-to-face ceremonies, but some do not. I’ll share a few tips for planning a graduation ceremony, traditional and virtual ways, and after-party. Let your students feel ready for the next big step in life.
Traditional High School Graduation Ceremony
Contact With Speakers
To begin, it’s important to contact potential speakers as soon as possible. Request the final speech after they’ve agreed so that you can accept the material.
When working with student speakers, this is a significant move due to students’ increased likelihood of using offensive humor or divisive subjects in their speeches.
Come Up With A Rough Event Schedule
Next, make a timetable for the ceremony, starting with a list of the significant events. Then create a printed program with illustrations, motivational quotations, awards recipients, and the graduating students’ names.
You will use this program to build a timeline for the entire ceremony. Be sure to devote time to creating a fun curriculum, as students and parents will keep it as a keepsake.
Update Cap And Gown Orders
Students will begin collecting their official regalia in the weeks leading up to graduation. Each order should be registered, delivered, and received three times by your team.
More importantly, they can double-check that diplomas and awards arrive on time at graduation.
Review The Venue
Graduation ceremonies for high school students are usually conducted on a playing field or in a large auditorium. However, if the ceremony is held off-campus, you must check the venue instructions to ensure that all regulations are observed.
You must confirm the payment and delivery time if you rent the stage, chairs, and PA system. Meanwhile, any in-house technology should be extensively tested before being used.
Announce And Distribute Graduation Tickets
It can be stressful to sell tickets. I suggest setting a maximum number of tickets for each student to prevent any logistical problems.
Tickets can be purchased online and connected to the name of the student. Physical ticket sales are eliminated, and students and families can receive tickets via email on a particular date.
You won’t be able to schedule entire high school graduation on your own, as you might have guessed. To avoid being distracted by last-minute problems, I suggest delegating major tasks to dedicated faculty and volunteers.
Organize Post-Graduation Volunteers
Request that the same volunteers assist in cleaning the venue and returning any borrowed equipment after the ceremony. You may have to appoint a person to oversee the cleaning process before you arrive.
You’ll be tearing down the venue in no time with a few helping hands. Remember to express your gratitude to all and to enjoy your accomplishment.
Virtual High School Graduation Ceremony
Rethink The Graduation Program
What parts of the conventional graduation ceremony should be repeated in the virtual world, and what parts should be reinvented? One of the most challenging tasks is constructing a concise, well-organized, and persuasive ceremony.
Of course, keep in mind that in a digital world, people’s attention spans are shorter.
A commencement speaker, student speakers, guest speakers, and a graduation roll call will still be included in the program.
The pace, sound, and consistency of the presentations should be given special consideration. It will allow the program to be interactive, runs smoothly, and leaves attendees feeling motivated.
Is it better to film on a unique campus that shows memorable moments from the graduating class? Person recognition slides with every graduate’s name and picture, searchable and viewable by family and friends, are included in many virtual commencements.
Time constraints may necessitate a general ceremony with a convocation speaker at a bigger school. These schools have many graduates, accompanied by separate events held by the individual colleges and schools conferring degrees.
Without a doubt, there will be a reduced time commitment and expense of physically attending the event. A virtual platform could provide greater access to speakers.
A well-known speaker, such as a prominent alum or public figure, will raise viewership and enthusiasm.
What will infuse life into a virtual environment and make it worth watching? Organizers should inquire when describing the overall program.
Tip: Emphasize The positive
Digital graduations have a significant advantage in that students are not restricted in the number of guests they may invite. It’s also not necessary for guests to be physically present at the ceremony.
It is excellent news for immigrant families. It can help distant relatives participate in the student’s success. Aside from that, it can also make engagement easier for family members who struggle with English.
Organize a race to see who has the most physically distant visitor. Students should be encouraged to express their cultural values during celebrations. Consider putting together a graduation book of celebration items that learner families love.
Establish The Structure
The structure refers to the program’s technical components.
- Will the ceremony be pre-recorded, streamed live, or a mix of the two?
- What hosting platform is the most appropriate for the company?
- Will the ceremony be hosted on an internal website or a third-party site?
Some platforms build virtual environments. It enables graduates to create a digital avatar that can walk across a virtual stage to obtain their diploma.
Some organizations can recruit the help of an in-house audiovisual or information technology department, while others may need to outsource. Don’t overlook the importance of a production schedule, rehearsals, speaker coaching, and dry runs/testing on the chosen app.
Many technological decisions would be budget-related, but the size of the audience tuning in will also be considered. The hosting platform must be scalable and proven reliable for the audience size.
They should also be capable enough that whatever may cause any rise in traffic, they can manage through automated systems.
The platform should be compatible with all devices used by the audience. It should, however, include high-quality video, audio, and, if necessary, live streaming and audience response.
Is there any money left over from a scrapped live event that could be used to upgrade virtual production? Both of these are things to think about when putting together the event’s actual structure.
Consider Your Audiences
Not only for the organizations preparing them but also for the audience members. Virtual commencements may be unfamiliar territory.
Many schools have solicited ideas and input from their students about how they would like their virtual graduation experiences to unfold. It allows students to participate in the decision-making process at a time when several choices have been removed.
Make your instructions for registering (if applicable) and viewing the interactive program as plain as possible. It includes the pacing, order of the ceremony, and any technical criteria that must be met for viewers to enjoy.
Offer a FAQ page with answers to the most frequently asked questions and details. The frequent questions most virtual organizers encounter are about how to get technical assistance. Also, keep ADA compliance in mind and, if necessary, provide closed captioning for viewers.
The school community, especially at the high school level, is a significant audience. Some towns hold town parades to celebrate graduating students, and some are enlisting the support of local radio and television stations and police and fire departments.
During the virtual commencement, images and videos from these events can be seen. Local businesses may participate in the group, too!
They can post congratulatory notes on the online program or offer coupons for viewing parties at pizza and take-out restaurants.
Personalize The Virtual Experience
Graduation is a very personal event for both the participants and their families. One of the disadvantages of a virtual event is the lack of human contact.
So, it is crucial to create a sense of mutual connection and personal participation in the virtual experience. Many schools are holding cap decorating competitions or inviting graduates to participate in a digital upload of the school anthem.
Other suggestions include:
- An online yearbook with photographs and quotes from the graduates.
- A messaging portal for family and friends.
- An interactive graduation chat room.
- Downloadable program as a keepsake of the graduation.
- If funds permit, submit seniors personalized care packages (local businesses can also sponsor these).
Promote & Make History
Virtual graduation does not have to break from tradition. But it can be an incentive to do so and highlight the difference.
What can be applied to the virtual ceremony that would be impossible to do in a live setting?
- An exciting contest to raise viewership
- A clever animation added to the program (for example, virtual stage walking)
- Musical performances
- Fun virtual after party
Online ceremonies have the advantage of encouraging many more friends and family from worldwide to participate.
It can also include those who would otherwise not attend due to a limited number of tickets for the live venue. Furthermore, the ceremony can be recorded and viewed several times.
Assist audience members in being enthusiastic about the case. Enlist the help of student groups to publicize the event and encourage participation before, during, and after it.
Encourage graduates to post photos, videos, and messages of their school memories. Encourage in-home celebrations to social media using a particular hashtag.
Celebrate The Graduation
You should still be proud of your academic accomplishments even in these difficult times.
Collaborate On Production & Technical Details
Work with a production company or an internal team. It will increase the production value of events and enable managers to tap into other people’s technological knowledge.
Produce graduation ceremonies and other activities during the year, such as a fundraiser gala with a live DJ and dance party. Find a full-service multimedia agency with decades of experience in live production.
It would help if you collaborated with them to ensure that the events are as smooth as possible, both functionally and visually. Rather than logging into another meeting, it will help give our community members an authentic experience.
Make use of your experience creating global second-screen experiences, network television specials, and interactive events. They’ll extend their experience and high-quality norm to virtual activities, elevating them from meetings to events.
What will a graduation event be without photos taken at the grad party? Quarantine has been brutal for our graduating students. But it does not have to keep them from getting the most out of their graduation experience.
You can host online photoshoots with friends and relatives, regardless of where they are quarantining. You can use Zoom, the online video meeting service we all know from classes. Zoom photography is easy to do and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Here are tips that can help you with your photo shoot through zoom:
- To invite a designated photographer, first use Zoom’s private chat environment.
- Use the screen sharing feature to allow the photographer to access your screen.
- Once the photographer can see your computer, run software called DigiCam. It will allow them control over their screen so they can take screenshots.
Zoom appears to lag. It is best to be on call with each other on another computer during the photo shoot. Use a laptop or desktop computer during the session to generate higher-quality images.
DIY Graduation Caps
Make DIY graduation caps with your family and friends over Zoom as a graduation-themed activity. You’ll need an old baseball cap or hat, a cardboard square, glue, and other decorative materials to create the caps.
Simply adhere the cardboard square to the hat and embellish as desired. These DIY graduation caps are a great way to pass the time. Plus, they can also be used to decorate your bedroom, living room, or other areas.
A quarantine grad party may not be your first choice for celebrating with friends and family. But you can always add some great music to make the experience — even if it’s virtual — more enjoyable.
Add these five songs to your growing grad party playlist. It will help you celebrate your accomplishments, reflect on the good times, and look forward to the future.
- History by One direction
- Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
- End of the Road by Boyz II Men
- See You Again by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
- Live Like We’re Dying by Kris Allen
While it is essential to support local businesses, there are delicious and straightforward DIY recipes to save money. These three dips are the most versatile and accessible must-haves for your graduation group.
The dips are the creamy parmesan dip, honey mustard dip, and green goddess dip.
All of the ingredients are likely in your refrigerator or pantry. But some of the recipes you may not have. Luckily, there are a few options for getting them shipped to your home.
Green Goddess Dip:
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 avocado
- ½ cup cilantro
- 1 cup kale
- Optional: 14 cup lemon juice or water to thin
Honey Mustard Dip:
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- ¼ cup dijon mustard
- ¼ cup honey
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- Sweet paprika or cayenne, optional
Creamy Parmesan Dip:
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup grated parmesan dip
- 1 cup thick, plain yogurt
- Black pepper, optional
All you need is a food processor and a few minutes of your time to make the dips. If you do not have a food processor at home, you can still make two of the three dips.
You can use a mixing bowl and a whisk — the creamy parmesan and the honey mustard.
Combine all of the ingredients for each dip in a food processor and process until smooth. You can also utilize a food processor to make all three dips until they have a smooth consistency.
You and your loved ones can now enjoy your virtual graduation with flavor, thanks to these delectable dips. These dips are inexpensive, easy to make, flavorful, and adaptable.
You can partner them with chips, tomatoes, crackers, or even as a sandwich spread. It also takes less than 15 minutes and will brighten up your quarantine graduation celebration in no time.
You can also commemorate your friend’s achievements by holding a graduation parade. Drive past their house with gifts and celebratory signs in hand.
Celebrate your friend’s achievements from the comfort of your vehicle. This type of celebration is becoming popular, and it has even gone viral on social media sites such as TikTok.
Regardless of how you want to commemorate the day, save the most critical message for last. Thank those people who have assisted you in getting to where you are now.
If you follow the advice above, you will be well on your way to giving your students an unforgettable experience.
If we’re fortunate, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance. But just in case, keep track of what works and what doesn’t. We’re about to enter a new normal.