Millions of high school and college students will celebrate their achievements with online graduation ceremonies this year. What does a virtual commencement ceremony look like? How can family and friends celebrate a loved one’s academic achievements while keeping everyone safe?
What will a virtual graduation ceremony look like?
High school and college administrators are busy behind the scenes creating commencement activities for their hard-working students. This is new territory for colleges and high schools, but here are a few things you might see during a virtual commencement.
Announcements will go out as to the time and date of the virtual ceremony. Administrators will use social media, like Facebook Live to virtually gather students and families together. Just like in a real-life commencement activity, an administrator will read off the names of graduating students. After all the names have been read there will be a virtual moving of the tassel. For those at home watching we’ll still feel a sense of pride hearing our family member’s name read and know all the hard work that went into this milestone.
Students can connect with other graduates on social media and send congratulatory words and promises to get back in touch when it’s safe to do so. When the commencement is over, now what? How do family and friends celebrate this monumental occasion?
Check out these five creative tips that you might try to keep the graduation party fun and safe.
1. The more the merrier (#togetherapart)
Once the graduation date has been set, be sure to tell all your friends and family. Have them join in the virtual celebration. Send out invitations to family and friends either snail mail or email. Don’t tell your graduate all the special people who will be in on the online ceremony. Keep a few names as a surprise. Watch their reaction as a long-lost uncle ‘waves’ hello from the ethernet. Familiarize yourself with your computer set up beforehand. Make sure your microphone, audio, and camera are working. To ensure a smooth virtual celebration check out our tips for improving internet speed.
2. Deck the halls
Show off your decorating skills and decorate the inside of the house and outside too. Hang lights, plant yard signs all over the lawn, get creative. Take photos of the graduate and share on social media.
3. Speech! Speech! Speech!
Use Zoom or Microsoft Teams and have your own graduation ceremony. During a school’s virtual graduation ceremony there may not be a valedictorian speech. Why not have your student do the honors at home? Have them tell viewers what was memorable about their educational journey, what they learned along the way and what they hope for in the future. Invite those watching to participate with advice and tips for the future.
4. Comfort food
Don’t forget the cake! Make a cake for the occasion or support a local bakery and have one specially made. Pull out all the stops and create a smorgasbord of all their favorite foods and treats. If you can’t hug grandma maybe the next best thing is her delicious chocolate chip cookies.
5. Dress the part
Sure, it’s easy to show up to a Zoom video call wearing an old t-shirt and jeans. For graduation try ‘dressing as if’…dressing as if you were going to a real graduation celebration. Wear your best suit and tie, put on that dress you bought just for this occasion. Don’t let quarantine keep you from showing off your best self. Be the sparkle. We need it now more than ever.
Graduates, we salute you! After you’ve moved the tassel from right to left be sure to throw that graduation cap high into the air. It’s the final gesture that moves you from student to graduate. Congratulations! The graduation ceremony and party for 2020 might not be what you had planned. Disappointment, sadness all those feelings are bound to surface.
It’s okay to feel confused and even a little angry by what’s going on. But graduating is still a big deal and you deserve recognition for all your hard work. With a little planning and ingenuity there are multiple ways to have a fun and safe graduation celebration. Let us know what ideas you have for celebrating graduation this year! We’d love to hear from you!