HOPE for Graduates (and family)

Graduation events occur at different points in life – Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School, High School and College to name a few. However, High School graduation is one of the biggest milestones in a person’s life. It is the result of 12+ years of hard work and the entrance into adulthood for those graduating. So, if your favorite teen graduated this year, then it’s time to celebrate this major achievement!

Think back to your senior year of high school. What stands out in your memories? You will most likely remember the last few months more vividly than the rest of the year. Prom, parties, and your school’s commencement ceremony are all time-honored traditions that are hard to forget. The class of 2020 started their year on track to end like seniors before them. They returned from winter break with visions of spring break, prom, and graduation. However, before those traditions could occur, the COVID-19 Pandemic changed everything. By Spring break, many high schools had closed and through technology, students were able to continue courses virtually at home.

Schools have worked hard to provide alternatives. There have been virtual proms, online graduation parties and commencement ceremonies. While these things are great, we need to acknowledge that they are not a complete substitute for the real thing. Although we may not be able to celebrate in the traditional ways, we can help make this time for our seniors the memorable rite-of-passage they deserve.

A new way to celebrate

While it is understandable to be sad, this is also an incredible opportunity to show future generations what it was like to graduate in 2020. Here are three alternatives to traditional celebrations.

Cap and gown

Your senior probably had to purchase his/her cap and gown long before any of this happened. What are the chances it will be worn again or repurposed (maybe it will make lovely dorm curtains)? Instead of storing it in the back of the closet, have your senior put it on and have a photo shoot outside the high school or where the ceremony was originally scheduled to take place. A rolled-up piece of paper can act as a diploma if the official document has yet to arrive. Enlist a friend or two and take some socially distanced pictures together.


Many schools hosted a virtual graduation ceremony. Usually these events are recorded and can be watched later, so make an event of it. Have your senior put back on their cap and gown (look how many uses you are getting out of your purchase!), Decorate the viewing area – think school colors, memorabilia, and a row of fold up chairs (to create that realistic discomfort while sitting through most graduation ceremonies). As your family gathers to watch the ceremony online, snap photos and cheer just like you would at the real event. Don’t forget to capture the moving of the tassel. Screenshots of online moments and speakers will complete your senior’s photo album. After the ceremony, head outside and shoot pictures of your senior as he/she tosses the cap in the air (one perk is that they will be spared from having to weed trough hundreds of caps to retrieve theirs at the end).

Party time

Parties, open houses and celebrations are a huge part of graduation and the most fun. For some, the event has been put on hold until groups can once again gather, but for others it may secretly feel like a blessing to not have to host a large event. Before you throw away the invitations or put this event on hold for months, keep in mind that this is more than just a party. It is an important celebration for you, your senior, family and loved ones. So, why not act now and party later (or don’t)?

Host a virtual party via ZOOM. To have the event run longer than 40 minutes, you will need to purchase a subscription. The cost is a lot less expensive than buying party supplies and you can connect as long as you want. Another amazing bonus is that you are able to record the entire party. If friends are unable to attend, ask them to record a brief video message for your senior. New to ZOOM? Check out our blog Use ZOOM to save your family stories!

It may be virtual, but it’s still an event so have fun with it.  Dress up, decorate your home and make the foods and drinks you planned to serve – especially the cake! After it is over, compile the recorded messages, ZOOM recording and pictures into a digital photo album to cherish for a lifetime. 

Create lasting treasures and keepsakes

Your senior is unique, so why not celebrate however they want? With all the recent changes, why not break tradition and come up with a graduation that is unique to your child? After all, it doesn’t really matter what you do, but that you do something to acknowledge this time in your young adult’s life so they are ready to tackle the next step in their journey. The best way to do that is to reflect on and document this time in your child’s life.

Did you plan to create a video showing images from Kindergarten to Senior year? Then finish it! Even if it never gets played at a party, it will be a wonderful keepsake for your family to treasure for years to come.  If it is too overwhelming or you need help, HOPE Organizing is here for you.

Create an online gallery featuring all of your memories. If you have a combination of printed and digital photos, we can organize and digitize your collection. Your original prints are returned to you in photo boxes for safekeeping, and you and your teen will have easy access to all of your images no matter where you venture. Some of our favorites are SmugMug and Forever, but you can also use Google Photos or Amazon Photos.  

There is HOPE Class of 2020

No matter what you decide to do, HOPE Organizing is here to help you commemorate and celebrate this monumental time in your senior’s life. We look forward to helping you organize your memories so they will be easily accessible for years to come. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and see how we can help. We provide social distancing safe drop off and pick up and can meet virtually to discuss your unique needs. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020 and to the parents that helped get them to this point. You have a story like no other and we hope you capture it and share with future generations.

HOPE Organizing wants to extend a sincere “Thank You” to the families that gave permission to share their senior’s photos.

Perfect for PINNING!

Published in May 2020

Updated in November 2020


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