Part 8 of 8 – The Essential Graduation Survival Guide
Get Ready for You Graduation Rehearsal
You’ve probably heard of the old saying, “practice makes perfect.” We highly recommend that you hold a graduation rehearsal, not only for the students but for the graduation committee, administration, teachers, and staff as well. This will help let everyone be aware of what is expected of them for graduation day.
Students are likely to be a combination of excited, nervous and even a bit emotional about graduating. Holding a rehearsal is also quite useful is calming some of these feelings, as they can see what will happen on this milestone occasion. Some students – like the high achievers – have been thinking about this day for years. Other students who may have had to study hard to graduate, this moment is very emotional because they were uncertain that the diploma was within their reach. It is best for everyone to hold a graduation rehearsal. Here are some helpful tips about what you’ll want to do and how to do it.
Get Ready for the “Big Walk” to the Podium: Rehearse the Procession
If the graduation is for small kids, it will need a couple of rehearsal sessions to get it right. For high school students, it would only take one or two graduation rehearsals. The procession walk during the beginning of the ceremony is important, and it needs to be practiced or rehearsed.
The graduation coordinator has to notify the principal and teachers about the rehearsals. Usually, the rehearsal is done at the actual venue to familiarize the students with the place.
It is very helpful to let the students be familiarized with the layout, and they will know where to walk during the entrance music. Rehearsing the processional walk will keep the students organized during the actual graduation ceremony.
Our best tips: Try to play the opening music so graduates have the experience of walking “as if” they are graduating, it will help them practice best.
Student Seating Order
The seating order of the students also has to be rehearsed. But keep in mind that everyone will walk up in the order that they will be seated, so you should practice their procession in seating order for best results.
The graduation coordinator has to work hand in hand with the teachers during the rehearsal of the graduation ceremony. As recommended earlier, they should be seated alphabetically. For this to really work, they must also process in alphabetical order as well.
The graduation coordinator should know that everyone has to be informed about where each student should be seated during the graduation ceremony. By rehearsing the graduation, the students will know their own seats, and this will avoid any problems during the actual ceremony.
Usually, the names of the students are announced one by one by the emcee when they’re getting the diplomas. This means that their seating should really be organized and it should coincide with the graduation list.
Our best tips: Confirm the final list of graduates and compile your student alphabetical list.
Getting the Diplomas
Receiving the diplomas is the biggest moment of graduation, should be rehearsed by the students. There is a proper procedure when getting the diploma from the principal of the school.
The graduation coordinator has to teach the students which hand should take the diploma and the proper way to shake hands with the principal and/or the person handing out the diploma. The principal/person will hand them their diploma, and the student shakes hands with the other hand.
The students will also need to know what to do after receiving their diplomas, particularly the route they will take going back to their seats. The students will have to be familiarized with the process to avoid a lot of confusion during the actual ceremony. When the students are well rehearsed, the handing out of diplomas can proceed smoothly.
Our best tips: Students will be very excited about this part of the rehearsal, be certain to answer any question. Also be sure they know the route back to their seats that it is both specific and simple to follow.
Some schools actually have a graduation song. Not just a song that is played during the procession in and out or the one played while collecting the diplomas. Some schools actually have a school song, like their own personal anthem.
These schools will typically have the choir or the entire student body itself learn the song and sing it at the opportune moment in the program. The graduation rehearsal is not complete without practicing and singing the graduation song (should the school actually have one). The singing of the graduation song is very special for the students and also for the parents.
When the students hear this song being played, they will always remember the day of their graduation. The graduation coordinator can work with the music teachers during the rehearsal. If the students are just small kids, the coordinator should be patient and teach the students on how to sing the graduation song. If the graduation song is not familiar to the students, it will take a couple of practices before the entire graduating class can sing it perfectly.
Our best tips: If your school has a school song, share the song with music teachers and other teachers to students can be made aware of it before graduation rehearsal.
Giving Out Awards
The handing out the medallions and awards should also be rehearsed. The graduation coordinator has to teach the students the proper way of receiving their medals or honor certificates. It’s the same as receiving the diploma: one hand receives the award and the other hand is offered to shake the hands of the person. Or if they are being hung or draped over the students’ heads, they need to be prepared to stand on the designated spot to slightly bend over to receive the award.
The students also have to be familiarized with the stage and the route they will take when they proceed back to their seats, assuming the award stage of your graduation is mapped out as an individual part of your ceremony and not given at the same time as the diploma.
The awarding rehearsals are very important so that the actual event will come out perfectly organized and the parents can proudly watch and photograph/video this special moment.
If you want to learn more keep a look out as there will be a number of articles about graduation planning on our blog in the weeks to come.
- If you would like to read the entire eBook “The Essential Graduation Survival Guide: How to Flawlessly Plan and Hold the Best Graduation Ceremony Possible” – DOWNLOAD IT HERE