Donovan Group Insights

How are You Commemorating the Class of 2024?

The Class of 2024 is on the cusp of a new chapter, and it’s time to celebrate their achievements in a way that’s both meaningful and memorable. This year, why not go beyond the traditional graduation ceremony and create a lasting tribute to their journey?

There are plenty of ways that you can commemorate the graduating class. From infusing the ceremony with fun new touches, to creating keepsakes for the class, and sending messages of encouragement and support, it’s easy to find ways to celebrate your students’ hard work and dedication. More importantly, it’s a great way to show them how special they are.

Make Your Ceremonies Stand Out

Graduation is a momentous occasion, but traditional ceremonies can sometimes feel a tad… well, traditional. Here are some creative ideas to liven things up and make it a truly unforgettable experience for everyone involved:

  • Live polling: Throughout the ceremony, use audience response systems to engage the crowd. Pose trivia questions about the graduating class, school history, or even pop culture references related to the year.
  • Video montage: It’s always nice to showcase student achievements beyond academics. Create a video montage featuring their artistic talents, athletic feats, or volunteer work. This personalizes the ceremony and highlights the well-rounded nature of the class.
  • Student speaker spotlight: Instead of a single valedictorian speech, consider having a panel of student speakers representing diverse interests and backgrounds. This allows for a wider range of voices to be heard and provides a more relatable message for the graduating class.
  • Themed graduation: You can add a theme to your graduation and ask that all speakers and presenters tailor their selections accordingly. Choose a theme that reflects the class personality or the year’s events.
  • Time capsules: If your school has a tradition of burying a time capsule, consider incorporating its unveiling into the ceremony. Invite a representative from each graduating year since the capsule’s burial to share a message for the future. Alternatively, invite students to contribute to a 2024 time capsule and share the contents with the crowd before it’s locked away.
  • Remember when…?” slideshow: Take a trip down memory lane with a nostalgic slideshow. Use photos submitted by students and faculty to capture key moments throughout their school journey.

Remember to involve the graduating class in these ideas whenever possible—get their input on what would make the ceremony special and meaningful for them. Try to balance tradition with innovation, and personalize the ceremony as much as possible.

Create Mementos to Last a Lifetime

It’s always nice to come away from school with a meaningful keepsake or two. People love to look back and have mementos that remind them of their formidable years. Here are some creative ideas for teachers and schools to create lasting trinkets to celebrate graduation:

  • QR code yearbook: Create a digital yearbook accessible through QR codes printed on physical diplomas or certificates. The QR code can link to a website or online slideshow packed with photos, memories and messages from teachers and classmates.
  • Record your own podcast: Teachers, students and staff can collaborate to create a graduation podcast. Include messages of congratulations, well wishes and funny anecdotes about the graduating class. Students can also contribute their own segments, such as sharing their favorite memories or future aspirations.
  • DIY graduation cap decorations: Schools can host a craft night for DIY mementos. Provide crafting materials for students to personalize their graduation caps. Think glitter, fabric flowers, fabric paints, and other craft supplies.
  • Signed graduation stoles: Have students decorate white stoles with fabric markers. Teachers and classmates can sign the stoles with messages of encouragement and congratulations.
  • Teacher notes of inspiration: Teachers can write personalized notes to each student or class, reflecting on their strengths, growth, and memorable moments in class.
  • Legacy wall: Set up a display board with blank tiles. Students can write messages about their hopes for the future or what they’ll miss most about school. These tiles can be preserved and displayed in the school for future graduating classes to add to.
  • Photo booth: Everyone loves a photo booth, especially for big occasions like graduation. Provide fun props like oversized diplomas, silly hats, and signs with inspirational quotes. Students can use these to capture goofy (or heartwarming photos) with classmates.

Honor Your Students with Tribute Messages

Graduation isn’t just about the ceremony. You’re proud of your students, so why not shout it out to the world? The community cares about the young adults who are graduating, and many are fellow alumni who are proud of their alma mater. Here are some ideas to create public tributes for the graduating class:

  • School and community marquees: Don’t forget to use your school marquee to wish your graduating students well! Community partners may also want to get into the celebratory spirit with their own signs.
  • Hashtags: Create a dedicated hashtag for the graduating class and encourage them and their families to include it when sharing photos and memories.
  • “What We’ll Miss Most” series: Teachers and classmates can share short videos or posts about what they’ll miss most about each graduating class. This personal touch creates a heartwarming tribute.
  • Senior spotlight video: Create a video montage showcasing the graduating class’s achievements, talents and personalities. Include photos, clips from school events and even short interviews with students and teachers.
  • Community messages: Set up a physical bulletin board or a designated online space where community members can leave messages of congratulations and encouragement for the graduating class.
  • Tribute in the school newspaper: Dedicate a special section in the school newspaper to the graduating class. Include photos, bios, future plans, and messages from teachers.
  • “Grad Walk” banner: Create a large banner with personalized messages for each graduate. Arrange a Grad Walk, where students can have their photo taken with their personalized section.

When deciding how to make graduation memorable for your students, consider your audience. For instance, if you’re crowdsourcing messages of encouragement, make sure you have online moderation tools, or designate someone to supervise students signing public-facing tributes like the wall tiles and banners.

It’s also wise to involve parents and the community to source ideas. Many local businesses, community members and families are happy to donate or discount their time and resources.

Send the Class of 2024 off in Style

Graduation is a pivotal moment: a time to celebrate the achievements of the graduating class, their resilience, and their potential. From interactive ceremonies and creative keepsakes to heartfelt tributes and lasting memories, there are plenty of ways to make this milestone unforgettable.

As you plan the send-off for the Class of 2024, remember to involve the students, personalize the experience, and celebrate their unique journeys. With a little creativity and a lot of heart, you can create a graduation ceremony that sends them off on a high note.

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