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Shiny Royal Blue Graduation Gown Cap with Tassel 2017

Graduation Planning 101

Steps for Setting Up a Committee and Delegating the Tasks


YOU NEED GRADUATION HELP!


Putting a graduation ceremony together can be a lot of work. Especially for large school systems. When it comes to ceremonies with 50+ graduates, it could mean 200+ guests, not including faculty and teachers. We’re talking about coordinating a significant amount of people. You’re going to need graduation help.


Let this post be an informational guide with suggestions as to the tasks you might want to share or delegate to others in your committee. This excerpt from “The Graduation Planning Handbook” is all about getting yourself some much-needed assistance.


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Create a School Committee for Graduation

Your tasks as graduation coordinator will be a lot easier if there is a school graduation committee by your side. This committee will have different roles and responsibilities to fulfill in the preparation of the ceremony. The graduation coordinator can appoint key people who will oversee tasks, such as the venue decorations, security, the music, lights and other technical aspects. Things like ushers and other roles will help graduation day run smoothly.


Start creating your committee today, especially if your senior class is large or it’s your first year as coordinator.


There are many benefits to working with a team, starting with the access to other’s skills and talents. There are things that you may not have thought of that others will, simply because they have a different perspective or experience. We highly recommend that you work with others rather than working on creating a graduation ceremony all by yourself.


OUR BEST TIPS:


Start creating your graduation committee today. Make a quick list of who you should invite and what tasks do you need help performing. Note that in the next couple parts we will list some of the items we think may be challenging if you go it alone.


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Choose Who Will be in Charge of the Sound System

During the graduation ceremony, the sound system is a critical part of the event. The sound will have a lot of people’s attention. The sound system enables announcing student’s names, playing music, and giving speeches during the ceremony. You’ll want to choose an individual who is highly knowledgeable. They need to know how to set up microphones, speakers, and possibly musical instruments in use during the ceremony.


The person should always report back to the coordinator, giving them status updates on the sound system. Provide them with a strict timetable for getting everything up and running. They should know when each segment starts and ends.


OUR BEST TIPS:


We recommend having sound tests take place both days and hours before the ceremony. Sometimes sound systems are working great one minute and then not-so-great the next.


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Choose Who Will Decorate the Venue

The graduation coordinator can appoint a person or group who can help decorate and arrange the venue. Decorating, being one of the more fun parts of graduation preparation, volunteers shouldn’t be hard to find. Consider students in the Art Club or teachers and staff with a talent for decorating. Enlist the help of those who were involved in homecoming dance preparations and similar events.


We recommend involving as many students as possible in the arrangement of their graduation celebration if you can. Tasks can range from picking out the decorations, putting them up, and later taking them down. Many creative students have high school spirit and will be happy to help out. Especially knowing this will be the last school function they may ever attend.


Decorators can be in charge of ordering flowers, streamers, balloons, or other items to make your venue come to life. The selection of decorators should take place several weeks before the actual event. They will need ample time to plan out the site layout. They will need to visit the ceremony’s location to help determine what will work best within the space.


OUR BEST TIPS:


Plan how you will invite students to participate (school announcement, sign-up sheet) and then set a meeting for the decorating committee.


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Select an Opening Speaker for the Ceremony

Usually, this role goes to the school principal. In this speech, they will welcome the students and parents to this extraordinary event.


However, there are other speaker choices to consider. The senior class advisor is another great option. The opening speaker can also be the person who is emceeing the ceremony.


No matter who you choose, you want someone who is engaging. Your graduation needs a rousing opening speech for all those in attendance. The event coordinator should select an opening speaker a few months before the graduation ceremony. Allow every speaker time to prepare for the event.


Sometimes this speaker is referred to as a keynote speaker. Depending on your preference, you can have both an opener and a keynote. The keynote is typically someone outside of the school who is inspirational. You want students and parents feeling that the world is a fantastic place ripe with opportunities for success and happiness.


OUR BEST TIPS:


Always have a backup speaker. Life happens in between all our grand plans. Ailments and other issues could prevent your speakers from being able to attend the ceremony.


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Select a Student Speaker

It is important for a school to have a student to speak on behalf of the graduating class. You want to choose a student who will give a speech that is the voice for the senior class. They should speak on topics relating to the future, achievement, and hope. Many schools choose two student speakers. More often than not, those two are the class Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Sometimes the class president is given a speaking slot as well.


The graduation coordinator can also choose students who have done charitable acts or served as an inspiration to the community.


It is essential to let students prepare in advance, as this may be the first time they will speak in public. Even the most accomplished students can get nervous. It’s important to give each student speaker the opportunity to practice their speeches in front of a small audience. Select a teacher to help them proofread for both grammar and appropriateness of topics.


OUR BEST TIPS:


Be encouraging, positive and remember to photograph and videotape each student’s speech. These students are the future leaders of the world. They will remember this accomplishment as a milestone in their lifetime.


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Choose a Master of Ceremonies or Emcee

The Master of Ceremonies or Emcee can be anyone with public speaking experience. They can be a faculty member or even you, the event coordinator. Choosing someone who is enthusiastic, good with names and faces, and comfortable in front of a crowd is preferable. You want to pick someone who can “pump up a crowd.”


Often successful choices are those familiar to students and the community. It’s always a plus if they are funny and can make a crowd laugh. Your emcee needs to know the full graduation ceremony program; front and back.


If you need the coordinator to keep things running smoothly, then they may not be the best choice for this role. A graduation ceremony takes a lot of effort to put together. They may not be able to manage both roles, even though being the Emcee can be great fun.


OUR BEST TIPS:


Keep in mind that your school’s ceremony can take a couple of hours. Having a terrific Emcee is critical in creating a fantastic graduation experience for everyone. You do not want guests wriggling in their chairs, tapping their feet while waiting for their child’s name to be called and thinking about how long this is taking.


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Appoint Ushers

The graduation coordinator should select ushers who will be in charge of assisting the parents and guests of the graduation ceremony. Ushers can be younger students who are responsible enough to do their duties during the event. We recommend you bring them to the venue before the actual event to learn the seating arrangements. Provide each with individual duties, such as directing traffic, or directing students, teachers, and parents to their seats.


OUR BEST TIPS:


Choose how you will appoint ushers and decide upon their duties and then invite them to participate. We advise you select either teachers or underclassmen for the job.


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Keep a look out for additional articles if you want to learn more! There will be many articles about graduation planning on our blog in the weeks to come. 

Lescapsgown specializes in creating the perfect graduation supplies.


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