Do you have a child graduating this Spring?  Wondering how to celebrate this wonderful achievement in today’s locked down, socially distanced world?  Here are some suggestions:

  1.  Honor the graduation traditions:  get a cap and gown, send out announcements  (if the school provides or you want to create your own).  Your child may think it silly to get a cap and gown under these circumstances, but insist,  you’ll want the photos!!  If it’s too late to get the school’s official regalia, you can order an inexpensive cap and gown on Amazon or from a variety of graduation stores online.
  2. Throw a surprise virtual graduation celebration.  Invite friends and family to send videos (shot on their phones) of them wishing the graduate well and sending along  some advice for the graduate in advance of the celebration, and edit them together in one video ( if this stumps you, ask a tech savvy child or friend to help).  Then invite them all to a virtual celebration (via Zoom, Facebook, Google hangout, etc.) Once you’ve surprised the graduate, make him or her put on the cap and gown (one more good reason to have one), and walk back into the room ( to “Pomp and Circumstance”) as everyone cheers.  They deserve to hear their cheering squad!!! Then sit them in the chair of honor and share the screen so everyone can watch the tributes.  (We did this for my daughter’s best friend last weekend, and it was way more fun and memorable than her school’s  online graduation ceremony!!)
  3.  For more ideas on hosting a virtual graduation ceremony, check out this Virtual High School Graduation Toolkit.
  4.  Graduation Parade: Ask local family and friends to line up and drive by, honking and waving to the graduate.  Sounds corny but who doesn’t love a parade? Especially one in your graduate’s honor!!
  5. Encourage your graduate to check out all of the virtual graduation celebrations featuring celebrities and other notables who want to congratulate them!  Here is a list of some that have already aired (but are available online) and some coming over the next few weeks:
    1.  #Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020 (May 15):  This graduation celebration featured commencement speeches from Oprah Winfrey, Awkwafina, Lil Nas X, Simone Biles, and many more.  Watch it here.
    2. Show Me Your Walk: HBCU Edition (May 16): this graduation special was dedicated to HBCU graduates and featured an address by President Obama.  You and your graduate can watch it here.
    3. Graduate Together: America Honors the Class of 2020 (May 16):  President Obama also gave a commencement address at this high school graduation celebration hosted by LeBron James and featuring a number of other celebrities.  See it here.
    4. Prom-A-Thon (May 22): MTV is teaming up with Michelle Obama’s nonpartisan organization When We All Vote to host an all day prom celebration.  This celebration will also commemorate another milestone: the senior’s ability to register and vote in upcoming elections.   During the day MTV will show prom-themed classic movies.  At 9PM there will be a prom party livestreamed  on MTV YouTube featuring surprise celebrity guest appearances and live musical performances.
    5. Dear Class of 2020 (June 6): YouTube is hosting a virtual graduation event featuring commencement speeches from President and Mrs. Obama, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Malala, and Condoleeza Rice, and musical performances by BTS, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Taylor Swift, among others.  It will begin at 3pm EDT/12pm PDT, and can be found at this link.   Graduating students who want a chance to participate in the event can upload videos via YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” website ( in a range of categories, like teacher shout-outs and their own celebrations. The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 22. YouTube will highlight inspiring videos from members of the Class of 2020 in the weeks leading up to the June 6 livestream.
  6. Noteworthy Speeches: For an inspiring (and innovative) virtual commencement speech which businessman B.K. Fulton gave to the graduates of  Virginia Commonwealth University’s da Vinci Center, check out this link.    And finally, if you and your graduate haven’t heard the great advice for graduates in “Everyone’s Free to Wear Sunscreen”, you must!

Congrats to all the graduates, and to you parents of graduates, as it has been a journey for you as well.  We celebrate you all!!