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Planning a Most Special
Graduation Day




If your students will be moving on to another community school, at the end of the ceremony have them walk down an aisle lined with students from the school they will be attending next. Those students will cheer, give high-fives, and otherwise congratulate the incoming underclass.

"We believe graduation is a time for families to come first. Families come to see their kids walk across the stage, so everything works from there. We spend the extra postage to mail each family an invitation to the ceremony along with information about how many tickets they will receive, parking, times, dress You name it, we mail it. We also put the kids up front. The best speeches at graduation are the ones by the students. We let them talk about their four years and the future. We don't get some Ph.D. to tell kids to be flexible or to be lifelong learners." (Tony Pallija)

Principal Marcia Wright shared an idea that can make graduation a very special time: "This idea takes a little planning, but it provides parents with a recording of their child's voice each year of school. In kindergarten, the child might be reciting their ABCs and in first grade they might do a little reading. (In second grade they might recite a poem, in third grade their times tables) What a special tribute for a child to give to parents!"

During the school year, Donnette McNeill-Waters can often be seen with a camera in her hand. "I take pictures of special activities and of children in the daily routine. I create a slide show that I show prior to awarding trophies on the last day of school. The children love to see themselves on the big screen." (A CD of this "photo yearbook" might even be sold as a school fundraiser.)

Teachers who have taught the graduating students might take turns calling out names as students come up to receive their certificates or diplomas.

Take Five more to read this entire article from Education World's "Principal Files" series:
"Make Graduation Day a Special Day Across the Grades"
(Education World -- May 13, 2003)