Graduation Doesn’t Have to Be Cancelled. Just Make it Virtual!

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by Lilly Thuma | Last Updated: May 5, 2020

Whether you are in college, high school, or a graduate student I am willing to bet graduation day is something you have been dreaming about since you started your academic journey. The chance to celebrate your hard work and achievements, celebrate with your friends and family, and say goodbye to the school you’ve grown to love. Unfortunately for 2020 graduates, these celebrations and ceremonies are going to look different this year. As the world is in the midst of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, bringing crowds of people together for an in-person graduation ceremony isn’t really an option… but that doesn’t mean graduation can’t happen! With a little bit of creativity schools across the nation are reimagining graduation.  Virtual Graduation Ideas Obviously none of these alternatives are going to be comparable to an in-person ceremony, but schools can still make their graduates feel honored and special. Luckily, there are so many ways we can use technology today to not just honor the class of 2020’s achievements, but make it a graduation ceremony to remember. Zoom First up: Zoom. I don’t know about you, but Zoom has been an absolute lifesaver through all of this. The uses for it are endless, and that includes graduation celebrations. Zoom is a great tool to bring graduating classes all together, and for Universities to honor their graduates face to face. Additionally, Zoom meetings can be spiced up by using fun different backgrounds. Lumavate has even made some graduation specific Zoom backgrounds with options ranging from kindergarten graduation to college graduation. Recorded Graduation Another option is to record a graduation ceremony, complete with speakers and all. This recording can be broadcasted live, or sent to graduates to watch at a time convenient for them. This way graduates do not have to miss the speakers or hearing their name called. These videos could also be further personalized to fit graduates major or college by having professors from each discipline included in the ceremony. Herff Jones #MoveTheTassle Herff Jones has partnered with a third party organization to bring students a unique graduation experience. Through their collaboration with StageClip and MarchingOrder, they have created solutions that lets schools host an online ceremony, host virtual graduation parties for students and families, create personalized video content, and enable graduates to connect with each other on social media through using the hashtags #movethetassel and #gradawaytion. Facebook and Instagram Present #Graduation2020 Facebook and Instagram are coming together to put on a graduation ceremony to remember. With a commencement speech from Oprah Winfrey, words of wisdom from Lil Nas X, Simone Biles, Awkwafina, and Jennifer Garner. Then to top it all off Miley Cyrus will be giving a special performance of “The Climb”. What Are Schools Doing? Purdue’s On-Demand Graduation Purdue prides themselves on always putting on a personal and memorable graduation ceremony, and they are not going to let this tradition go even though graduation will be virtually. Purdue’s graduation plan includes hosting an “on-demand” graduation. Prior to Purdue’s commencement date, May 15, students will receive their diploma, diploma cover, honors cords, commencement program, and instructions on how to access the virtual graduation ceremony. Every student will have their name called, and they will have their diploma in their hands. This already sounds like a great solution, but Purdue isn’t stopping there. They are also creating special photo backgrounds so students can have keepsake pictures taken on the graduation stage and other monumental places around campus. Clinton High School A high school in Arkansas got really creative with their graduation ceremony and came up with something that not only makes individual students feel honored, but maintains the community feeling of graduation. Clinton High School is recording each student having their name read, receiving their diploma, and walking across the stage. They will also then individually record student speeches. The school is then going to compile all the videos into one, and then play the production at a drive-in movie theater so the class can safely watch it together. Of course not all of these ideas are practical for all schools, but it is so important that schools take inspiration from what others are doing and find some way to honor their graduating students. Whether it is Zoom, a recorded graduation, personal videos, messages on social media, whatever it may be, we can’t let the class of 2020 go unrecognized!

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