Virtual Class of 2020 Celebration

One of the first realizations that sprung from the stay at home orders—beyond needing to buy more toilet paper—was the cancellation of the end of the year celebrations for graduating seniors. Grad walks, senior breakfasts, prom, Grad Night and of course, graduation.  These celebrations are rituals that provide for a joyful closure of thirteen years of culminating educational experiences, and final shared experiences of the senior class.Schools and school districts have been seeking ways to replace these in person experiences, delay graduation ceremonies, and still celebrate their seniors in safely distanced ways.

First, if you haven’t already, reassure your community that you are considering alternative celebrations.  (Tip: Before they start their own online petitions, crowdsource your audiences’ ideas through a survey or crowdsourcing platform like ThoughtExchange.)

Next, thanks to social media, schools and districts can hold a virtual celebration of these seniors in a number of different ways by crowdsourcing content.  As a way to congratulate and honor them, I’ve included a couple of social media post examples of real Class of 2020 seniors, below, as well.

Here are six ideas that you can begin right away!  

  • Instagram Stories: Ask seniors to send a 15 second (or less) video to use in an Instagram story.
  • Online Sourcing: Ask parents or seniors to post a their senior photo, senior door decorating and their son’s/daughter’s post-high school plans on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using a #{School Name}Classof2020 hashtag—and let them know that you’re cultivating these photos and information for a future social media post.
  • Senior Shout Out: Create a simple online form where parents can upload their senior’s picture, name, plans after graduation. From this information, create simple shout out posts for each senior with a common graphic.  Canva is a great platform with free options where you can create these graphics and resize them for each social media platform.

Class of 2020 social media celebration
CLASS OF 2020-Senior Shout Out

 

  • Diaper Ads, Re-imagined: Many yearbooks feature “diaper ads” which allow parents of seniors to submit baby/tot pictures of their graduating senior along with their senior picture, along with a brief note.  Why not create these into social media posts?  Using the online submission form approach, ask parents to submit these photos and their note to their senior, and use these to recognize seniors—they’ll get a good laugh, and probably lots of engagement.

 

CLASS OF 2020-Diaper Ad and celebration

 

 

  • Grad Thank Yous—On Video: In our town, our graduating seniors don their caps and gowns and visit their elementary schools to tell their teachers thank you, while the elementary school students look on and see what the future looks like for them.  Why not do it in a video?  Ask seniors to submit a “Thank You” video in which they’re wearing their cap and gown and thank their favorite teachers (and name the school).  Keep the time limited to 15 seconds so you can use them on Instagram stories (where most seniors are) and on Facebook (where most of your teachers are).  Put the videos together in a longer video that can be posted on your district/school’s website and emailed to staff (since all may not be on social media).
  • Grad Drive By Parade: Similar to the teacher drive by parades happening in towns across America, consider a Grad “Drive By Parade”. Seniors can wear their caps and gowns, and hold a sign with a “Thank you” to their teachers (and include their names), and ride in a car parade in their elementary school neighborhood or on a common route to their high school.  Coordination with local law enforcement might be necessary to ensure that they know when the parade will happen and on which streets, and remember to encourage people to wave from their own driveways to ensure appropriate social distancing. Make sure that someone is videoing and taking pictures of the parade so that it can be shared later on social media and on your website.

And, these ideas don’t only have to apply to graduating seniors! You can take a similar approach with your Class of 2020 8th grade, 5/6th grade and even kindergarteners that are celebrated in end-of-year promotion activities.

Need help with setting up your virtual celebrations?  Sounding Board has helped many schools and school district clients successfully manage social media, website and other content virtually and through crowdsourcing content in the ways listed above. Give us a call at 916.673.8868 or email us at hvmcgowan@sounding-board.net.

 

About Heather McGowan

Heather McGowan increases public confidence in public education and improves opportunities for non-profit organizations to succeed through proactive communication and marketing. She provides strategic marketing and communication services that exceed her clients’ unique goals and delivers results that motivate audiences to act, change, and/or otherwise change behaviors for a greater good.

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