Something old, something new, something crowdsourced, and a thank you…
It's a new spin on an old saying – the perfect recipe for a fresh approach to graduation. From the grounded to the tech-savvy, these ideas can make #Graduation2016 more memorable for your students and their supporters.
Start with something old to give perspective and show how far graduates have come:
Cultural context: Help the audience appreciate the world in which your graduates have grown up. Beloit College’s Mindset List can give you some ideas of where to start – like these fun facts: not only do students born in 1997 share a birth year with both Google and Dolly the sheep, but they’ve never had to lick a postage stamp.
Recreated childhood photos: Challenge seniors to submit original and recreated childhood photos – you’ll give them something to laugh about for years. The best recreated photos have poses, facial expressions, and outfits that are almost identical to the originals – just search “recreated childhood photos” to see some good ones.
Send grads off with something new to help them commemorate the day:
A keepsake: Since graduates’ memories live mostly in the digital world, they might appreciate a more tangible memento. It doesn't have to be big or expensive, just something they can hold in their hands or keep on their mantel.
A new tradition: Start a new tradition that represents what your school stands for today. Grad traditions can be as simple as a class gift or as unique as planting a tree or giving away a stole of gratitude.
Crowdsourcing involves gathering content online from many contributors. Here are two ideas that use crowdsourcing to give every graduate a chance to get involved:
A curated story: Choose and publicize an official graduation hashtag to collect social media content – #MHS2016 or #Smith16 are good examples. Share the hashtag in graduation announcements and in your program. As posts appear, you can curate and share their graduation story using Storify, a tool for crafting a narrative from social media content. Storify will give you that added checkpoint of human filtering, so you don't have to worry about any less-than-savory comments making it into the public eye.
A collaborative speech: Stanford Law School graduates used a wiki to contribute ideas and form their 2015 speech collaboratively. This is possible at the high school level, too! Instead of electing one senior to write the speech, the graduating class can choose a team of editors, define a broad theme, and invite all classmates to contribute content using a collaborative tool like a wiki or a Google Doc.
...And a Thank You
Modern etiquette is always evolving, but one thing stays constant: the need to say thanks. Luckily, there are more ways than ever for graduates to show their gratitude:
Record it: Send a video crew out to record messages of thanks during the last week of school. Compile the messages, share the video during the ceremony, and post it online. Do you have a class song? Set aside an afternoon to shoot a music video on school grounds with the entire graduating class and unveil the completed video during your ceremony.
Text it: Most of these digital natives have their phones on them 24/7 – take advantage of this opportunity and ask them to send a mid-ceremony thank you text to someone who taught them a life lesson or helped them reach this milestone.
Write it: Above all, the best etiquette lesson is to know your audience. In certain situations, only a handwritten thank you note will do. Throughout their lives and careers, graduates will need to figure out who to thank and how to thank them. Teach them the distinction and they’ll thank you later.
A memorable graduation strikes a balance between tradition and novelty. What makes your ceremony unforgettable? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Fee Management & Transcripts Made Easier
Your students’ high school experience doesn’t end with graduation. Make it easier for them to request transcripts, pay fees, and complete any other necessary tasks before moving on to the next phase of their lives.
Check out these recent articles!