How to Plan the Perfect Virtual Graduation

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All graduates deserve to be celebrated and honored for reaching this important milestone. Being unable to hold an in-person commencement ceremony shouldn’t prevent the celebration from happening. With a little planning and creativity, schools and families can honor the graduates with a meaningful virtual graduation event.

Before your Virtual Graduation Event: Setting the Stage

It’s important to make the ceremony feel as authentic as possible. Give the event a proper graduation look and feel by:

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| Sending students their diplomas, caps and gowns
| Delivering care packages of baked treats and school swag
| Creating and mailing event programs and virtual tickets
| Encouraging students to take pictures at home in their cap and gown
| Offering tips to families for decoration ideas like decorating their car or home

During your Virtual Graduation Event: Enjoying the Ceremony

There are a lot of options for creating a great virtual ceremony. Each choice has different benefits for school communities of various sizes and budget levels. Explore these possibilities for your virtual graduation:

virtual graduation

Livestream Video

| Attendees, friends and families can view in real time from anywhere
| Deans, principals and others can give traditional speeches
| Graduates’ names are projected on a screen and announced with pictures
| A professional live streaming platform can be contracted, or you can DIY via webcam and computer

Live Zoom Event

| You control who is seen and heard with Zoom Video Webinars
| The host gives the principal, valedictorian or other speakers their turn to speak
| The host focuses on each student (live or via a slide) as each name is read
| Family and friends can watch a livestream on Facebook Live or YouTube

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Open My Network Secure Event

| You are in charge of the services/content; and the company you choose creates the ceremony
| Your presentation can include student names, photos, program, awards, music, speeches
| The platform provides up to 6 video recordings with professional editing, sound and color correction
| A voice-over professional reads the names as student profiles are displayed on the screen
| You have a live training run through session and technical assistance
| You can have an unlimited livestream with 3,000+ attendees on a safe and secure platform
| The company takes care of post-production editing, ceremony recording and distribution

virtual graduation

Vidigami Secure Virtual Event

| This is a completely private, secure platform for student and staff photos and videos
| There are various service plans to meet your needs and budget
| The company creates graduation albums from student and staff photos and videos
| The album can be used for a slide show “processional” during the ceremony
| A personalized invitation is sent via email to staff and students

Pre-recorded Video

| You can develop and upload a virtual graduation ceremony to YouTube
| Students, families and friends can view this at their convenience
| Graduates’ names are announced and slides that have been created in advance are projected.
| Students can leave messages in YouTube’s comments area

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Film the Ceremony in Advance

| Make sure you have set up times for graduates to come to the school and film them walking across the stage in cap and gown
| Try to film all traditional speeches
| Compile video clips and background music into a graduation ceremony that can be viewed at a drive-in theater or posted and viewed online

Virtual Webpages

| Build a page on the school website with pre-recorded speeches, awards and graduate profiles
| Add audio and background music to make it more authentic
| Students can share the link with friends and family via social media
| It’s easily accessible and can be viewed at any time

virtual graduation

Consider Additional Ways to Celebrate

Even if the ceremony is held virtually, there is still some opportunity for real-life interactions to celebrate graduates in a safe and responsible way. Here are some fun ideas to consider:

Hold a Drive-In Graduation

| Choose a nearby drive-in theater or large parking lot
| Project a video of speeches from administrators and staff on the screen
| Present awards virtually
| Show names and pictures of graduates as a virtual processional
| Everyone stays in their vehicles
| Food can be delivered to cars

virtual graduation

(Image Credit: @centennialhighpatriots on Instagram)

Organize a Drive-Through Parade

| Create a video montage or slideshow to send to students
| Mail students “professional” pictures of the ceremony
| Interview each student, create and send a DVD of video clips
| Record and post “live” ceremonies on your website
| Set up a social media page for sharing posts, pictures, videos
| Send shout-outs on social media with GIFs and memes

virtual graduation

After Your Virtual Graduation Event

This unique celebration will be one that graduates and families will want to remember. Give graduates something special to look back on:

| This requires detailed planning, scheduling and traffic control
| This may be more appropriate for small-to medium-size schools
| Graduates and families can decorate their vehicles
| Teachers line the route to observe, cheer and say goodbye
| Each car stops at a special background to take graduates’ pictures
| Make sure your school films the event so it can be shared with students and families


With a little creativity and planning, graduates will have a virtual experience that honors and celebrates them in a memorable and fun way. This milestone will be marked with smiles and memories to last a lifetime.

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