Graduation Cancelled? No Worries, Make it Even Better

What if I told you that you could make your child the star of their own graduation, include all family members, friends, and yes, even school teachers/profs - and do it for little or no money?  Yes, you can make the most of this milestone, despite all the obstacles we face.  (note:  missing prom . . . then skip to bottom for a link to help)
[Cue the music] 
“Pomp and Circumstance” wafts through the room.  Your family is there.  Tears. Relief. The Future.  Your baby (or family member) is graduating.  
Can that moment still happen for your sweet graduate?  Actually, the answer of “yes” is closer to the truth than you think.

If your school has to cancel or postpone this major milestone (understandable, by the way), there are steps you can take to make that moment, that day, that achievement something to remember – just from a different perspective.  In fact, your child needs to celebrate this for a host of wonderful reasons.   

So, let’s use the resources we have and make it a joyful day.  Thankfully the resources we need don’t include toilet paper, Clorox Wipes and Masks! Seriously, once we began this research project, we began to realize how many tools we as parents really have to pull this off. 

It is our hope that the ideas below can get your creative ball rolling. 

Idea 1: Make it a Simple “Family Affair”

Yes!  You can include family all over the world for this event.   In fact, this idea allows you to include family that would never have been able to make it to the actual graduation ceremony!

This doesn’t have to be complicated to set up.  It just needs heart.

The Simple Method:

  1. Pick your Master of Ceremonies, the outgoing family member that can create the feeling of accomplishment as he/she hands the graduate the diploma. 
  2. Pick Your Tech Delivery System.   By now you are probably aware of Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, Instagram, and more.  Wow, what it can do just amazes, doesn’t it.  We can show our kids that yes, we can rock this tech-thing, too!  So let’s use it.  Pick the one you know, or pick the one most family members are familiar with and can navigate.  Send them an invite with time, and you are good to go.  They can join in the celebration with you, either visually or by audio.
  3. Deliver a Wonderful Speech about your Graduate and Graduate them!

But what if you want to do more . . .  

Idea 2: Add Sizzle to Your “Family Graduation”

The “Kick-It Up A Notch” Method


This is a chance to make an even bigger memory.  Choose any one of the additional ideas below and your payoff will be multiplied.



  • The Organizer Parent/Invitation: Find the family member great with online invitations and agenda setting capabilities.  Getting this to family members will add that “event” feel.  Include a time when you open the software up for attendees to verbally congratulate the grad.
  • The Tech Guru: If you use a software system such as Zoom, it would be helpful if they “pre-downloaded it” and had a trial run with you to make sure they understand what to do when the event begins.  Perhaps they can help attendees solve tech issues before the event so when the graduation starts, they just join in the fun.
  • The Parent Speech: Write a speech about what your child means to you, what all they’ve accomplished, and don’t forget about the memorable milestones along the way.
    Side note: Speaking of milestones, are your teen (and you) perhaps struggling with what accomplishments they have, how to record them, and need help remembering when and how to use them? We’ve got a Guide and Training Video to Help save you both time and stress:  “Teen Accomplishment Tool Box”.                                    
  • Your Graduate’s Own Speech: Wow, one of the upsides of this is that your graduate gets to speak at the ceremony even if they weren’t the valedictorian!  Have them write a few words about their school, friends, family and their best memories.  If your child is on the shy side, of course they can read it, or even have a family member read it.
  • Decorations: Create a “stage” in which to give your grad their diploma.  Hopefully your school will send you the actual diploma, but if not, make one out of rolled paper and a ribbon.  Create black drapes or a table with a table cloth.  Grab that potted plant you’ve had in the corner for years and put it on the table.  Are there school pompoms, photos you can frame of your child to put on the table? 
  • The School Teachers/Professors: No traditional graduation is complete without teachers and professors up on stage.  While you can’t have that, what you CAN have are small testimonials that you’ve asked your child’s favorite teachers to write.  Those teachers, too, are missing the chance to see their hard work at graduation pay off. 

  Any teacher worth their salt would love to write a paragraph of your child, or      even send a quick video clip they took on their smart phone and sent it you.         Perhaps the software you’ve selected allows for playing of these clips.  Zoom       does.  Others will, too.

  • Clothing: It goes without saying that your graduate will want to wear their cap and gown.  Parents, you too, can make this event more special by wearing something “graduation appropriate”. 
  • The Graduates Friends: Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few friends write a blurb or send a small video clip of what their friendship has meant to your graduate and vice versa?
  • The Graduates Family: Family won’t want to be left out either.  They can also send by email a paragraph for you to read, or a video clip as well. 
  • Food: Can you prepare your graduate’s favorite meal for afterward? 
  • Music: At the beginning of the ceremony, play traditional graduation music.  “Pomp and Circumstance” comes to mind.  You can find it online, probably through YouTube or some other spot.  At the end, is it possible for you to locate the school song and play that?
  • Graduate Them! Don’t forget to assign someone to “officially” graduate them. This parent can say a few words like “I’d like to formally bestow graduation honors on (name) and it is now time to move your tassel from one side to the other.  Here is your well-deserved diploma and we now recognize you as a proud graduate of (name of school)”.  Then, hang them their diploma and play appropriate music. 
  • The Photographer: No ceremony would be complete without seeing your graduate throw their cap in the air!  Of course, you won’t want to forget taking a photo of all those in the room with your graduate.  You can also take a photo of the computer with all of the virtual participants.  (think Brady Bunch)

Idea 3: The Scaled Down School Event


Is your school doing a virtual modified ceremony?

Some schools, depending upon quarantine issues, may be doing a ceremony where students enter the stage area 1 at a time and have the school principal there to verbally thank them. 

Other schools might be taping testimonials and speeches for every graduate.  Check your email and your school to find out. 

Is Your Teen Missing Prom, too?

On a slightly different note, is your teen missing prom due to virus cancellation?  Then you might be interested in our ideas on how to make that fun too: “Prom Re-Imagined” 

Memories are what we make of them

Situations are, too.  If you are reading this, you are one of those special parents trying to finish strong.  We wish you every success!  Our hearts are with you no matter what and how you celebrate.  When your child receives that diploma, we know it was truly a family affair to earn it in so many ways!   Have fun. 

We Have a Favor To Ask

If you have celebration ideas you’d like to add, PLEASE, PLEASE put them in the comments below to help other parents.  Also, please forward to anyone that would love help with their graduation ceremony. 

As you know, we truly strive to help every parent in this last season with their child before they fly off into adulthood to help parents help their teens be the very best they can be. Having taught students for years, our heart for this age and especially for parents struggling with time and “what to do now” challenges absolutely keep us going in our mission. 

Our next episode is going to cover a technique to help your child communicate to friends/roommates/others that will serve them well whether in HS or College.  It's a technique that we can all use and allow friendships to flourish.   So, catch it on FaceBook (Episode 14) or click a link below and share your email and we will send it to you soon.  

Have a great week and of course, we leave you with

Yes, you CAN Have Success in the Middle of it All

Pam and the JellyGeneration Team!

About JellyGeneration

Pam Hardison, MBA, BBA in Finance and Business Education, has created and co-owned a national mail order catalog which at one point was the 21st fastest growing customer base in the nation.  As a mom of two college-post college daughters, considers it a privilege and to meet other students and parents along the same road.   After teaching high school and college students for years, her commitment to helping them with topics most schools can't cover is the light that drives her.  

Holly Powers, Attorney-At-Law (Jameson & Powers, P.C.) has been actively practicing law since 1985 and is a shareholder with the law firm of Jameson & Powers, P.C.  The firm specializes in transactional law, health care law, and general business law.  Holly has taught students precepts concerning the legal world for over 10 years.  With 4 children, she understands what teens need to know and has a passion to help others faced with teens and aging parents.

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