Many events and celebrations are being postponed or cancelled during the Coronavirus, but among the hardest to have effected are the graduation celebrations for seniors. After years of hard work, perseverance, and extracurricular accomplishments, graduation is a time for seniors to see the culmination of all their work result in a diploma. Wearing graduation robes and caps, the graduation march and receipt of a diploma on stage is a milestone achievement.
Graduation for seniors this year, however, will look very different due to the Coronavirus. School auditoriums, stadiums, and other venues have been ordered closed to prevent the spread of the virus, making graduation ceremonies impossible to hold.
This doesn’t mean that your senior needs to go unrecognized for receiving their diploma though! If anything, this calls for extra planning and celebration to mark their milestone during this unique time in history. This article will explore different ideas and tips for celebrating a high school graduation at home!
Make Their 2020 Home Graduation Day Memorable
There are a few things you need to consider while planning a graduation celebration at home for your senior.
Your senior’s wishes
Take some time to sit down with your senior to discuss what they would like their graduation celebration to look like. What were they looking forward to most? Can it be replicated at home in some way? Talk to your senior to see if they have any ideas or specific things they wanted included in any celebration.
Start shopping now for decorations, tableware, and other items in your senior’s school colors. This will come in handy to use in some of the ideas from this article. It will also help set the tone for the whole month they will be graduating!
Set a budget for any celebrations you have in mind. Since the parties and celebrations will be smaller, you may not have to spend as much as you had planned throughout the year. Consider gifting the leftover funds to your graduate in a special way. Or, save the money for a bigger celebration after the Coronavirus has passed.
Supply and Demand
Plan and shop early for your graduate. Many families are in the same situation this spring, so there might be limited supply of the items you need to celebrate. For décor and other items in the school colors, think outside of the box. Use sheets in coordinating colors to decorate tables and walls if traditional plastic tablecloths are sold out. Order LED light strips online and decorate around the house with those if streamers aren’t available.
The graduation date
Consult with your child’s teachers and school about the exact dates that graduation will occur. Plan activities and celebrations as close to the original graduation date as possible. Also, be sure to keep in touch with the high school to make sure your senior’s diploma and other items will be delivered on time and without hassle. Use the school’s resources as well to order the graduation cap and gown, where possible.
Families, cultures, and different areas of the country have traditions when it comes to high school graduation. Do your best to make these traditions happen, even if they can’t be exactly the way they normally are done. Whether your tradition is making a lei of flowers, candy, or money, having family and friends assemble to shower the graduate with gifts or money, or having a bonfire in your backyard, try to tweak the tradition so your child can still experience it. Keep reading for more ideas.
How to Celebrate High School Graduation at Home 2020
The weeks at home leading up to your senior’s graduation are a great opportunity to plan and get ready for the big day. Use some of the ideas below to make your senior’s graduation memorable.
Host a Virtual Graduation Party
Send online invitations to your graduate’s family and friends to join a live virtual party for your senior! Have everyone join the link to the party at the same time. Here are a few ideas for the virtual party.
- Ask everyone in the invitation to write a letter for the senior ahead of time. The letter can contain their favorite memory of the graduate, something they love about him or her, or even pieces of advice for their future. Have attendees read the letters during the virtual party one at a time. Don’t forget to have the letters mailed or emailed to the graduate afterward!
- Create a party theme! Have your senior choose a favorite theme and ask attendees to dress the part. Some fun themes are disco, roaring 20’s, or choose characters from your senior’s favorite movies, book series, or video games.
- Stage a grand entrance. Before the party, have your senior dress the part in their cap and gown. Play Pomp and Circumstance after everyone has joined the online party and film your senior walking into the room. It will add a little humor and help your graduate realize the importance of their achievement as well.
- Play games. While your senior may have outgrown some games, some activities are ageless and can be done during a virtual party. Try karaoke with everyone participating. Or play something like charades or a card game that can be done via video chat.
Decorate Your Yard and Front Door
Graduation banners and signs are a big deal where I live. Have your senior’s picture printed on a giant banner to hang in your front yard or entrance to your neighborhood. If you have a homeowner’s association, see if they are making a sign for all the graduating seniors in your neighborhood and make sure your senior is included. Now is the time to order the signs so it can be delivered before your senior is set to graduate. The sooner you can display the sign, the better!
Take pictures of your senior in various poses around their front door and porch décor. Use the pictures to send graduation announcements and virtual party invites! If permitted, you can hire a photographer to come take “front porch project” pictures. The photographer stands a safe six feet away and takes professional pictures of your senior and family on the front porch. Or, if you would rather not hire a photographer, take photos with your own camera.
Many families have also been decorating their front doors and porches for their graduating seniors. Hang your senior’s Letterman jacket or cap and gown on your front door. Hang a wreath in the school colors. Order a flag to display that is graduation themed.
Paint a flat white sheet with a message for your senior. Have younger siblings get in on the fun as well by writing their own well wishes on the sheet to display. Once the paint is dry, display the giant sign in your front yard using twine to hang it between two tress or on stakes.
Decorate Your Home
Even though there may not be a big party with guests at your home, now is a great time to still decorate your home for your senior. Decorate now so that they can enjoy the recognition through the end of the school year.
Hang streamers in school colors throughout each room of your home. Cover all of your tables and surfaces with tablecloths with graduation theme print. Create graduation cap banners to string along the fireplace and door frames. Purchase number balloons to inflate and display with their graduation year.
Decorate your home as if the party were about to happen at any moment. You can also play your senior’s favorite songs throughout the day. They have worked so hard to reach this point, so make sure you are celebrating their accomplishments at home!
Eat Favorite Foods
No party is complete without great food. And although you won’t be able to have guests over other than your immediate family, you can make your graduate feel special by making or purchasing his or her favorite foods. Consider planning the entire day’s menu around your child’s preferred cuisine choices.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking, get take out from a local restaurant. Plan ahead so you can be sure the foods you want are available.
Have a Drive-by Parade
Arrange to have family and friends drive by your house and wave to your senior. Your graduate can dress in cap and gown and be recognized for his success. You could reach out to parents of other seniors and have a parade for several of those graduating from your child’s high school.
In many areas of the country, each graduate has his or her own graduation party where friends and family bring gifts or money and celebrate together. This could be a good alternative graduation activity during Covid-19. Consider leaving a box on your front lawn where people can leave cards or gifts.
Start a Virtual Yearbook
Since many seniors won’t get the opportunity to have their friends sign their actual yearbook, create a virtual yearbook space for your graduate! This can be done through multiple social media platforms and is a great way to connect your senior to their friends during this time of quarantine.
Create a hashtag for your senior. For example, if your senior’s name is Joseph, his hashtag could be #JosephHClassof2020LHS. Make it unique enough that it won’t get confused with other hashtags, but generic enough that people can easily tag it.
Next, share the hashtag on social media and other communication avenues. Have your senior text his friends or message them and ask them to post pictures, best memories, or other messages and tag them with the unique hashtag. You can also email family members, teachers (new and old), friends, church family, and other people and ask them to post as well!
Your senior can then simply search their unique hashtag on social media or a search engine, and see all the pictures, well wishes, and sweet memories written by their loved ones. The great thing about a virtual yearbook is that it will be there forever!
Make a Memory Book
Create a memory book filled with pictures and memories all about your senior. There are multiple online resources for creating beautiful photo books that also provide an option to include text and other embellishments. Snapfish, Mixbooks, Chatbooks, and Shutterfly are all great resources. Many of these sites also offer great deals and coupons this time of year, specifically for graduates.
After choosing which online service to use, start uploading pictures of your senior from birth to present day. Reach out to family and friends to see if they have any favorite pictures they wouldn’t mind sending you as well! Pictures can be uploaded from your computer or social media outlets, making it easy to fill the pages with your senior.
I prefer to go in chronological order, but for your graduate you could start with Pre-K and organize it by school year. Reach out to past teachers and ask them to send a letter or email with thoughts about your senior. Copy and paste the letters from their teachers into that corresponding grade level in the memory book. Your senior will love reminiscing about their school years and the surprise of seeing letters from their favorite teachers will make it so special!
Also, consider scanning your senior’s artwork from over the years and adding it to the book. Instead of old drawings collecting dust in a file, they can be proudly displayed in the memory book!
Pull pictures, memories, and quotes from the senior’s virtual yearbook to include as well! Use a search engine and type in the unique hashtag to retrieve everything that has been tagged for your senior.
After everything has been organized and uploaded, add graduation theme embellishments to the pages. Don’t forget to write your own special letter to your son or daughter to include in the book.
Create a Vision Board
Help your son or daughter create their own vision board for the next five years. During times like this, it may be hard for a senior to think about the future when so much in their daily life has changed. While it is perfectly acceptable for them to have grief over not getting to attend their final prom or get to walk during a graduation ceremony, it’s important for them to remember that this grief is temporary.
Help them redirect their emotions into creating a vision board! They can do this electronically on a website like Pinterest but cutting pictures and putting them on a board is preferred.
Gather several magazines from around your home, glue, scissors, stickers like washi tape, pens, and markers. Your senior can use a large piece of poster board or a simple piece of computer paper to create their board. Or have them use an instant camera to take photos to put on a board.
Begin by talking about things they want to accomplish over the next five to ten years of their life. Help them identify goals and ultimate aspirations. Then, have them find pictures that correspond to these goals, cut them out, and glue to the picture to their board.
Each item they add is an opportunity to discuss why it’s a goal and help them navigate how they are going to reach that goal. Consider asking them to choose a goal in specific categories. Here are some category ideas with corresponding possible goals.
- Spiritual Goals. Read the Bible three times. Study the scriptures weekly. Visit a cathedral or church in a different state or country. Invite a friend or boyfriend or girlfriend to a church service.
- Education Goals. Obtain a college degree. Obtain a technical certification. Maintain a 3.0 GPA.
- Career Goals. Identify what industry you want to work in. Complete a desired internship. Obtain a job after graduation. Find a part time job during school. Build a professional resume.
- Personal Goals. Graduate from college debt free. Learn to manage personal finances and create a budget. Maintain a healthy weight and physical fitness. Buy a home. Get married.
As you can see, goals can be varied! Creating a vision board of goals gives your graduate a chance to look beyond the immediate troubles and focus on their future.
Celebrate the Seniors
The graduating class of 2020 will become stronger for what they are having to go through now. The quarantine of Covid-19 will become a historical event, and your senior will have a prominent story in that history.
While the students will graduate under circumstances nobody has faced before, their accomplishments are still momentous and a reason to celebrate. Remember to talk to your son and daughter about these changes and help them open to any emotions they might be feeling right now. Helping them navigate and cope with the challenges they are facing now will give them a life long lesson in perseverance.
Also, consider their friends who are also graduating and whose families may not be able to celebrate them at home. If you know of any students who may be overlooked during graduation, consider involving them in your celebrations as well, or throwing a joint graduation party for them and your own senior after the quarantine restrictions are lifted.
Eventually, life will resume, and your senior will move on to college or other vocation after graduating. Remember to treasure the time spent with them now and make the most of creating a graduation they will never forget!