High School Graduation

Graduating from high school is an important step in the life of young adults. Not only does it mark a significant academic achievement, but high school graduations are also symbolic of students transition into the adult world. Unlike graduation ceremonies students have experienced before, high school graduations are more formal affairs that require a bit more planning on the parts of students, school staff and parents.

Along with arranging to have a cap and gown, students and parents also have to send out announcements and graduation invitations. Often, families will plan to throw a party or more elaborate graduation dinner to celebrate the occasion. Alternately, the school staff has to plan every aspect of the formal ceremony, ranging from booking a location to preparing speeches and processions. Keep reading to learn more about planning and celebrating a high school graduation.

Graduation Announcements

There is a certain etiquette that is associated with sending out high school graduation announcements:

  • Include a graduation ticket (if your school calls for attendees to have tickets) and a senior portrait in your announcement. Keep in mind that you may have limited tickets for the ceremony. As a result, consider using them for close friends and family.
  • If you are throwing a graduation party or formal dinner, you may want to include an invite for either event with your graduation announcement.
  • If you are sending invitations to acquaintances, consider writing “no gifts please” on the bottom of your invite.
  • When mailing the invitations, be sure to mail them so that they arrive at least two weeks before the date of the graduation ceremony.

The Graduation Gown and Cap

Like other graduation ceremonies before, the students will need to wear a cap and gown that they can purchase or rent from the graduation gear distributor affiliated with the school. These retailers offer package deals that include a gown, cap and graduation announcements. It”s usually possible to purchase custom class rings that include various gemstones and engravings from the same company.

When it comes to being fit for a cap and gown, the cap size is based on the circumference of your head (in inches) while the gown size is based on a length that should fall halfway between your knee and ankle. Typically, graduates wear nice, formal attire beneath their gowns. Men traditionally wear dark slacks along with a button down shirt and a tie. Women tend to wear nice spring dresses, or a blouse and a skirt, that is no longer than the graduation gown itself.

Before the ceremony, be sure that the tassel is on the right side of the cap. Once the principal introduces the class as new graduates at the end of the ceremony, the graduates with move the tassels to the left side of the cap.

The High School Graduation Ceremony

The formal graduation ceremony that generally takes place in the spring (anywhere from late May to June) is officially known as the Commencement Ceremony. After the graduates walk into the venue in a single file line and sit in the designated graduate area, the principal or some other respected teacher gives an opening speech to welcome everyone to the event.

After the opening remarks, a few teachers and the valedictorian (the graduating student with the highest cumulative grade point average) also give speeches. Some high school graduation ceremonies may also feature a special “keynote” speaker, such as a local businessman, minor celebrity or otherwise well respected individual who gives an inspiring speech.

Then, a designated teacher will read the names of each student, at which point each graduate walks across stage to receive his or her diploma. Keep in mind that what the teacher gives the student on stage isnt the real graduation diploma. Students generally have to pick up their diplomas from the school a few weeks after the graduation ceremony.

Once all of the students names have been called, a teacher or the principal gives a closing speech that introduces the class as new graduates. At this point, the graduates move the tassels on their caps from the right to the left side and then will sometimes throw their caps in the air.

Grad Night Parties and Senior Trips

After the formal commencement ceremony, many schools have grad night parties to offer students a safe, drug and alcohol-free environment in which to celebrate. The grad night party is a tradition that developed as a way to curb drunk driving accidents associated with the wild parties that follow graduation ceremonies.

In general, these grad night parties whisk new graduates to a fairly distant location immediately after the graduation. Each student must purchase a ticket to support the cost of this party before the graduation. While the cost of tickets for grad night depends on what the actual event is, prices tend to range between $20 and $100.

Some common themes and plans for grad night parties include:

  • attending a water park
  • going to theme parks, such as Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, etc.
  • renting a reception hall and filling it with various types of entertainment and activities
  • taking a cruise around a lake or bay.

Similarly, some graduating seniors opt to take a senior trip through a private vendor that isnt affiliated with the school.

The cost of these trips depends on the destination, as well as the length of the trip. While senior trips can take graduates to nearly any destination, they typically revolve around going to Europe, Mexico or the Caribbean.

High School Graduation Gift Ideas

Because high school graduations are important milestones, giving the graduate a meaningful, enduring gift is appropriate. Some gift ideas for a school graduation are:

  • a family heirloom
  • a senior trip
  • jewelry
  • money for college.