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The big event: Making graduation special for students

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Graduation season is slowly creeping upon us—have you started thinking about how you’re going to celebrate or commemorate this milestone with your students?We’ve got a few ideas …For pre-k and kindergarten graduates:

  • Invite parents and family to spend an afternoon celebrating graduation. Beforehand, help students make their own graduation caps out of construction paper to wear in a mock-graduation ceremony or write a song together about graduation to perform for parents and family.
  • On the last day of class, share something meaningful with students and their guests—read an inspiring book like I Knew You Could, the sequel to The Little Engine That Could, by Craig Dorfman. Create a slideshow with pictures of the students from throughout the year—kids love seeing themselves on the big screen and families are sure to enjoy it, too!
  • Send your students off with a personal note sharing how you’ve enjoyed having each student in class along with a symbolic token, like a packet of Forget-Me-Not Seeds.

For elementary graduates:

  • Host a grade-wide party celebrating the last day of elementary school. Think of a fun theme for this party and corresponding gifts, decorations and games. Try a summer theme by grabbing a few beach balls and have them imprinted with “I had a ball at (insert name of elementary school here)!” Create an all-star theme and give away baseball caps.
  • Create a memory: Organize an end-of-year field trip to an amusement park or zoo as a reward for their hard work. Give each student a Sport Bottle and a Disposable Camera to commemorate the day.
  • Reach out to parents and thank them for their support and participation throughout the elementary school experience with a “Thanks a mint!” personal message on a note card and a tin of accompanying tasty mints.

For middle school or junior high graduates:

  • Instead of a graduation celebration or ceremony, keep things relaxed and host a student recognition night. Display student work from their collective middle school experience. Have school band members perform casually, provide light refreshments and ask the principal to say a few words of congratulations for reaching the next big step ahead—high school.
  • End the night with gift bags filled with goodies and things that promote continued dedication to learning, like book-shaped Bentcils or rulers.

For high school graduates:

  • If you don’t already, consider commemorating this graduation milestone with a lock-in or all-night supervised party at a community center or the school gym. Have a variety of game stations for students to stay occupied, along with activities like dancing, hula contests, basketball, rock climbing or relay races. Offer a movie showing or live comedian and make sure there’s concession stands, too. Seek contributions from parents to hire a videographer to tape the event along with individual interviews throughout the night. Students can purchase DVD’s and make sure one is given to the class president to ensure the enjoyment of the video at reunions to come!
  • Send students off to college prepared. After graduation, congratulate grads with giveaway items that will be useful at college like a Duffle Bag to tote laundry back to mom or Flip Flops for the dorm showers.

For college or tech school graduates:

  • For many, this graduation is the final graduation ceremony opportunity. Surprise graduates with License Plate Holders imprinted with your school’s name or cozy Sweatshirts in school colors, screen-printed with your mascot.
  • Encourage grads to take advantage of your school’s career development or resource center. Enter graduating visitors into drawings to win professional Padfolios or a Deluxe Messenger Bag to impress at interviews or prepare for the work day.

At any level, graduation is a big deal, and many of the graduation milestones only happen once! Make it special and know that they couldn’t have done it without you.

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