Graduation ceremonies can be traced all the way back to 1432, when Oxford University required each baccalaureate recipient to deliver a sermon in Latin. Since then, commencement exercises, with varied styles of formality, have been held for graduates upon completion of their studies. Although the graduation can be highly traditional in its methodology, ceremony planners can help make the event unique by incorporating innovative and festive ideas for graduates of any age from preschool children to university students.
Perform a Song
Have the graduates perform a song during the graduation ceremony. This will provide audience entertainment and help students feel part of the ceremony. Choose a song that is relevant to the graduates. A graduating kindergarten class, for example, may include favorite group songs such as "The Alphabet Song" or "The Wheels on the Bus." Older graduating classes can incorporate sentimental and coming-of-age themes. Songs may be performed in smaller groups such as a school choir. Make sure you rehearse the songs and any hand gestures ahead of time.
Make it Colorful
Graduation ceremonies do not have to have a formal color scheme. Instead, the ceremony can include a variety of colors. This can create a festive atmosphere, ideal for ceremonies that have a party celebration immediately after the ceremony. To create a festive atmosphere, decorate the room using multi-color materials such as a variety of colored balloons, caps and gowns. The diploma table can also be decorated with a multi-colored plastic table cover. Make sure the graduation cake also incorporates the color scheme, including plates and forks.
Present a slideshow before or during the ceremony, filled with pictures commemorating the graduating class's school days. Pictures can include shots of teachers, the school campus, extracurricular activities, competitions and random in-class photos. A slideshow can keep audience members entertained as they try to recognize familiar faces. It also adds emotional value to the ceremony by providing students with memories of their past experiences and achievements.
Make the ceremony meaningful but short, especially if there are a large number of graduates. Make time for inspirational speeches and adequate recognition time when handing out diplomas. Timing your event efficiently will ensure that your audience does not grow restless at the event, especially if small children are present. Children who are not entertained during a long period of time will become disruptive, making the event difficult to go through. Go over the proposed schedule with the graduates ahead of time. Celebrations.com reports that informed children will be more likely to behave because they know what to expect.
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Based in El Paso, Texas, Anaid Heyd has been writing research articles since 2001. Her work has been published in the "American University Law Review." She has bachelor's degrees in political science and Chicano studies from the University of Texas at El Paso and is currently in law school at American University.