Yet another casualty of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 are the graduations and other final ceremonies and events for high school and college seniors. While we can’t give them back their final moments as seniors and the events they anticipated, we can find new ways to celebrate them.
Senior Spotlight Facebook Group
Some school districts have created Facebook groups designed to honor their high school seniors. One Facebook group for the Chambersburg Area School District is called “Adopt a CASD Senior.” In this group, parents, family, and friends of seniors post a short bio and a few photos of their senior. Someone else in the group then “adopts” the senior as their own to send gifts and encouragement to, in place of the usual celebrations that would have taken place.
Some college groups and majors are using their social media pages to feature their college seniors. This could be a great suggestion to make if you know who to contact at your senior’s school.
Yard Signs and Banners
A few local companies have started creating yard signs and garage banners to honor local seniors. The signs usually don the name and photo of the senior and the high school they are graduating from. Contact a local printing company or make your own sign to honor your senior.
Create a Highlight Reel
While this idea is fantastic for honoring high school and college senior athletes, a highlight reel can be made for any senior. If your senior is an athlete, consider compiling a video or slideshow of their best sports moments through the years. For others (and the athletes, too) put together a review of the past 4 years to be saved and shared on social media and with friends and family.
DIY Home Décor
Many small business owners are finding new ways to run their businesses, including curbside order pickup. Some businesses that focus on crafting classes, such as Hammer & Stain Chambersburg and Board & Brush Hagerstown are selling wood home décor to commemorate your graduate. At Hammer & Stain, you can purchase kits and create your décor yourself at home, while Board & Brush offers premade personalized wood signs. Board & Brush gives the idea that you can prop the personalized sign on your front porch and invite friends to come sign it (while adhering to social distancing rules) to offer congratulations to graduates.
Organize a Parade
Make shift parades have become popular for children’s birthday parties, and they are a great way to celebrate graduating seniors, as well. Many local first responders, such as police and fire companies will even join in your parade if you ask them. Ask those participating in your parade to decorate their vehicles with balloons, signs, and streamers to make it even more special as they approach your senior.
Hold Virtual Events
Your senior might not be able to go to their real prom or their actual graduation, but you can hold virtual ceremonies. YouTube is holding a virtual graduation ceremony on June 6th with a variety of famous speakers, but you could also hold your own more personal virtual graduation. Gather close family and friends on a Zoom meeting and feature a short speech from your graduate. Then stay on the meeting for a while to give ample time for all the attendees to express their congratulations.
Take the Photos
They already paid for the prom attire and they probably already have their cap and gown too. Take the photos you would have taken if the events had taken place. Get them dressed and ready for prom and go outside to take photos. You can even include friends, just be sure to practice social distancing! Graduation photos can also easily be replicated with their caps and gowns and the people in your household. Don’t forget to get flowers for the ladies! Even if they never get to have the true ceremony, these photos will still become special keepsakes.
Throw the Party
Even in the most locked-down areas, gatherings of fewer than 10 people are still allowed. Throw the graduation party anyway! Only invite those closest to you and allow others to join virtually. If you wanted to wait a little longer, many states are allowing groups of 25-50 people once restrictions are able to ease a little.
We are all getting used to a “new normal” and all we can do is make the best of it. This is definitely not a competition of who had it worse, whether comparing the situation to the “old days” or to which 2020 seniors are missing the most. Remind your senior (and yourself) of all the things they have to be thankful for. One missed prom is not going to hold them back for the future. This too will pass and we will get through this together.