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April 21, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Your Graduate

Have your senior watch Oprah's commencement address on May 15 and make plans for home events just in case those local ceremonies don't happen.

Teenagers are experts at rolling with the punches — so much so that you might think missing out on the last half of senior year wasn't any big deal.

But it was.

You might think that missing out on graduation didn't really phase your kid. But it did.

    Across the state, high school teachers and administrators are finding ways to recognize seniors. In Williamson County, parents were polled to find out if they wanted schools to proceed with in-person ceremonies or not. The vast majority (85%) said yes, and ceremonies for all of Williamson's high schools are now slated for July 16 – 19 with most being held at the Agricultural Expo Park.
     Ceremonies in Rutherford County will begin on Monday, June 22 with Blackman High School leading the way. The other remaining schools (there are 10 in addition to Rutherford County Adult High School and Online Summer School) will fill stands on weekday and weekend ceremonies through July 24).
    In Sumner County's 11 high schools, graduation ceremonies will take place June 25 – 27.
    And in Davidson County — the most cautious of all counties — a district-wide virtual graduation ceremony featuring local celebrities and civic leaders is in the works. Should social distancing guidelines be lifted "by summer," the district will look at hosting in-person ceremonies.

But we all know dates can change. That means parents need to make celebratory plans of their own.


Oprah Winfrey, Instagram and Facebook to celebrate the graduating class of 2020 from high schools and colleges on Friday, May 15 beginning at 1 p.m. Central.





The whole point of high school graduation is for family and friends to gather around your senior to celebrate his accomplishments. So that's your goal here.

Here are a number of ways to achieve happiness for your grad:

1) Organize a video party.

Zoom is the app du jour, so arrange a Zoom call in honor of your child. Reach out to all of your contacts (whom you'll invite before hand) to ask them to think of something meaningful to say to your senior once you're all on the Zoom. Do know that not EVERYONE knows how to use Zoom, so be prepared to teach a few stragglers the ropes. They will need to download Zoom before hand and be able to click on the invite link you for the exact time. 


2) Invite friends and family to make a video.

Send a text asking everyone to send you a brief celebratory video (give them a deadline!) and then get a friend who knows how to edit all of the videos together. On a designated day, at a time of your choosing, gather your immediate family around (and of course, your grad) and show the video. There will be moments of joy and tears — especially if you're able to get a few key videos from family far away. You can also create a group video using Tribute, which makes it easy to combine multiple videos into one.


3) Adopt a senior.

Make sure the grads in your neighborhood feel special. Choose a graduate to shower with appreciation, small gifts and honks.


4) Organize a virtual Kudoboard.

A Kudoboard lets you create an online group card filled with messages, GIFs, videos and photos. You can also create a shared virtual document using Trello; Google Drive; Slack; Zoho or something else.



Graduation yard sign, $24.95 on Etsy.



5) Organize a photo shoot.

Use your neighborhood Nextdoor App to organize a time when all of the seniors in the neighborhood come together for a socially-responsible photo shoot.


6) Organize a car parade.

On what should have been their graduation day, have your senior and his friends decorate cars and drive through your neighborhood celebrating, waving and honking. Use your Nextdoor App to invite the neighbors out to watch the parade. Decorate accordingly.

7) Miscellaneous no-brainers

Decorate your front door with photos of your grad /  put together a scrapbook of your grad's achievements over the years / display a yard sign for your grad / plan a graduation-themed dinner / circulate a graduation announcement / organize a graduation party at home







About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this award-winning publication and all-things Nashville Parent digital creative. She's also an Equity actress, screenwriter and a mom of four amazing kids.