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  • Writer's pictureRichard Sessa

7 alternative Graduation Ideas

The class of 2020 may not be able to have the graduation ceremony they deserve, but you can still make graduation day special by celebrating virtually. During this unprecedented time where staying apart is necessary to keep one another safe, we’re finding new ways to celebrate life’s biggest moments. Seniors anticipate graduation day all throughout their school years, whether earning their high school diploma, bachelor’s degree, or beyond and should be celebrated for their hard work! 2020 graduations may not be held in the traditional sense, but you can make it special for this year’s seniors. Virtual graduations can’t take place of walking the stage to accept a hard-earned diploma, but this list of virtual graduation ideas aims to make grad day special in hard times.

Give seniors a shout out on social media

Celebrate your school’s seniors by taking advantage of social media. Thanks to platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can easily upload images and apply your own text to shout out seniors. To be sure you include everyone, schedule your graduation stories by going through the alphabet by last name. Depending on your number of seniors, plan for a week or two ahead of graduation and share a couple of letters a day. Check your school’s privacy settings to allow for others to share your posts—that way seniors and their families can share on their own accounts. It’s a great, free way to make every senior feel special. On graduation day, be sure to share videos and class photos of your school’s seniors throughout the 2019-2020 school year.

Host a virtual graduation ceremony

Hosting a virtual graduation ceremony is a great alternative to the real thing. Students and their families can join virtually as each student’s name is called to receive their diploma. Make the virtual ceremony as close to what an in-person graduation would have been like as possible by allowing time for administrators, teachers, and guest speakers to give speeches. Instead of printing out programs, create one as you normally would and share by email as a PDF. Not sure what platform to host your virtual ceremony on? Zoom, Herff Jones, and more are great options for sharing live events. If you’re concerned about the size of your graduating class, break up the class by alphabet to make sure everyone has the chance to join. Give yourself plenty of practice time to work through any potential technical difficulties, and allow ample time the day of graduation so that you’ll be as confident as possible in your graduation ceremony. Looking for another special touch? When you send out the programs, along with the link to join the graduation, encourage 2020 graduates and their families to skip the comfy clothes and instead dress up just like they would in person.

Create unforgettable senior t-shirts

While some schools are postponing graduation for later in the summer, others are moving forward with virtual ceremonies entirely, which could mean no cap and gown. Don’t let graduation day feel like any other day, make your graduating seniors know it’s still the defining moment they imagined by sending everyone custom t-shirts. Your school’s graduating seniors will have their senior shirts long after the virtual graduation is over to remind them of their resilience during such a trying time. Create a design that speaks to your school, give us a call at (973) 363-3181 for help every step of the way!

Throw a graduation parade

Parades are a great way to celebrate your 2020 grads while maintaining a safe distance from one another. Get your teachers and administrators in on the parade by decorating their cars with window markers, balloons, and streamers in your school colors—but don’t forget your mascot! It isn’t possible to go to every house, but your parade can visit several of the more senior-dense neighborhoods. Make sure to share a rough timeline of when you’ll be cruising through each neighborhood so grads can come out and wave to their teachers. A graduation parade is a great way for families and friends to celebrate their graduates as well, so be sure to share this idea with parents!

Decorate yards/porches for seniors

Encourage parents to decorate their yards, porches, or balconies in honor of their 2020 graduate. If you’re throwing a parade, this is another great way to know where to stop, honk, and shout, “Congratulations 2020 Graduate!” Looking for ideas on how to have parents decorate yards for their seniors? Suggest a theme! If a student was active in the school’s theater department, decorate the front door to look like a stage, or if they played on the baseball team, create a baseball diamond. A great way to share the big accomplishment with the world is through weather-proof yard signs. Customize a sign with your graduate’s name and year for a long-lasting way to brag on your grad. No yard? No problem! Add a sign to your street facing windows or make a graduate wreath. Print out favorite photos of your grad throughout the years since they started their education and arrange them in a circle to hang on the front door.

Send virtual graduation kits

Another great way to celebrate 2020 graduates is with a virtual graduation kit, which are a bundle of products you select, like a t-shirt, water bottle, and a drawstring bag shipped directly to each student’s home. Customize each product with your school’s design and individually ship to each senior’s house. Graduation kits are a great option for those looking to celebrate the Class of 2020 no matter the distance. Find out more about sending products directly to graduates by visiting, or give us a call at 973-363-3181.

Keep the senior traditions going

Just because the end of the school year looks different doesn’t mean the traditions need to change. Every school has a different sort of tradition, maybe it’s senior field day or a pajama day. Keep the school spirit alive leading up to graduation by finding ways to host these events virtually. Set up a virtual relay race for senior field day by getting on a video call together for the “baton pass” among teams, or have everyone snap a photo in their jammies for that day’s roll call. Let the seniors feel how special their final days in school are by finding ways to keep those senior traditions going.

Seniors have worked a long time to get to graduation day, so we hope this list gives you some great ideas for making virtually graduating the best experience possible. It’s time to turn the tassel—congratulations to the Class of 2020!


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