Graduation Ideas for High School

Susie McGee
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There are numerous graduation ideas for high school, and while you might not want to incorporate all of them, you may want to use several for this year's special day.

Planning a Graduation

Planning a graduation ceremony involves a lot of forethought. In fact, most schools begin planning their graduation ceremonies several months in advance. While most schools stick to the basics, such as processionals, speeches, diplomas, and recessionals, there are several graduation ideas to consider.

  • Location

Where do you plan on holding the ceremony? Will it be at a stadium or auditorium? Will you need to accommodate a large or a small audience? Will weather be a factor?

  • Entertainment

While the obvious reason for holding a graduation involves handing out diplomas to students who have worked hard and long to receive them, some type of entertainment is often expected. This could include a song from your school's chorus, a performance by the school band, or even a guest soloist.

  • Speeches

Speeches are typically given by the valedictorian and salutatorian, but other speakers could include the class president, principal, senior advisor, and any other guest speakers.

Graduation Ideas for High School Seniors

Graduation ideas for high school seniors include ideas for before and after the ceremony as well.

  • Receptions

Many schools host a reception before the actual ceremony. This reception is often limited to graduating seniors and immediate family. Finger foods and punch are often served. During this time, the graduating class and their families spend time visiting and reminiscing about the past years. This is also a great time to take some last minute photos. For added ambiance, consider hiring a pianist to play quietly in the background.

  • Photo Ops

After the ceremony, it can be difficult to gather everyone together for photographs. Instead, ask the graduating class to meet at a preplanned place. Parents should also be invited so that they can take numerous pictures of the whole class and individual pictures of their child as well as smaller group photos. This photography session could be held on the school grounds with familiar landmarks in the background. The session could also be held at a local park. Be sure to allow plenty of time for photographs before the ceremony is actually set to begin.

  • Cookouts

Smaller schools sometimes want to continue the celebration after the ceremony. While it is common for graduates and their families to host individual parties, including the whole graduating class allows students one last time to be together as a group. This may be more difficult for larger schools to handle, but a cookout works perfectly for smaller schools. The cookout could be held at a local park or on the school grounds. If money is a problem, ask for donations from your local merchants. Families can bring desserts and drinks to cut down on costs as well.

  • Slideshows

Slideshows are great to commemorate the culmination of all those school days. Gather together favorite pictures of students. Photos from elementary school and junior high will be particularly enjoyed by everyone. For more photos, check with your yearbook sponsor. He or she may have a large selection of photos from extracurricular activities and candid shots from all over the school. Make an extra effort to include as many of the student body as possible. Slideshows could be shown during a reception, as guests are being seated, immediately after the ceremony, or during a post-graduation cookout.

  • Open house

Open the school before and/or after the ceremony for alumni to tour.


Graduation ideas for high school can be formal and informal, but the main idea should revolve around celebrating this momentous day in the lives of these young people who have worked so hard to earn this honor.

Graduation Ideas for High School