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8 Graduation Party Alternatives for Celebrating While Social Distancing

8 Graduation Party Alternatives for Celebrating While Social Distancing

You can still celebrate your 2020 graduate with these four alternatives to a graduation party and four virtual commencement ceremonies for celebrating while social distancing.

If your child is part of the class of 2020, particularly in high school or college, she’s probably not happy about how the year ended and might be coping with graduation loss. However, with a little creativity, you can still make a special celebration for your graduate with these graduation party alternatives that still adhere to social distancing guidelines. Celebrities and officials have even made it their business to properly celebrate the class of 2020 virtually. These awe-inspiring figures—including the likes of Oprah, Barack Obama, and LeBron James—are dedicated to celebrating 2020 graduation with livestreams, commencement addresses, and more. It might not look like the celebration your family planned, but your child’s graduation can still be special. Here are some of the virtual commencement addresses you can tune into and socially distanced some graduation party ideas.

Virtual Commencement Ceremonies

Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, hosted by LeBron James
Saturday, May 16, 8pm
This one-hour special will feature actors, musicians, athletes, and activities including the Jonas Brothers, Yara Shahidi, Ben Platt, Megan Rapinoe, Pharell Williams, Bad Bunny, Malala Yousafzai, Chika, and TikTokers Charli and Dixie D'Amelio. You can watch the special on all broadcast platforms—ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC—and on a variety of streaming platforms including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and more. Post your celebratory photos and videos using the hashtag #GraduateTogether for a chance to be featured in the broadcast!

Celebrating the Class of 2020, hosted by Barack Obama
Saturday, May 16, 2pm and Saturday, June 6, 3pm
WHAT: On May 5 Barack Obama revealed he and Michelle have planned two graduation events for the class of 2020: “Show Me Your Walk,” the HBCU edition, which will premiere on Saturday, May 16 at 2pm, and the “Dear Class of 2020” commencement address, which Obama will give on Saturday, June 6 at 3pm. Obama’s Instagram post also mentioned LeBron James’ Graduate Together special—maybe he’ll be giving an address during that broadcast as well!

#Graduation2020: Facebook and Instagram Celebrate the Class of 2020
: Friday, May 15, 11am
WHAT: Facebook is hosting a multiple-hour-long graduation event over Facebook Watch on May 15 at 11am—and Oprah is the commencement speaker! Simone Biles, Lil Nas X, and Jennifer Garner will also be sharing inspirational words, and Miley Cyrus is the musical guest! That’s a little cooler than your average graduation performer, we’ll say!

A virtual citywide graduation for NYC high school seniors
: Date TBA
WHAT: Mayor Bill de Blasio promised a virtual citywide celebration for students during his April 28 press conference, which supposedly will feature notable NYC school alumni. Check back for updates!

Socially Distant Graduation Party Alternatives

Turn the house into a bar with a personalized food and drink menu for college graduates.

Have you seen those viral videos of families who have turned their homes into bars—complete with a bouncer, DJ, and bartender—for kids turning 21 in quarantine? You can do the same for your child graduating college, with school-themed drinks and a menu of foods he loves. It’s not quite the same as a university commencement, but it’s personal and make celebrating definitely still possible.

Order a personalized graduation montage from Rad Grad Creations.

Soon-to-be college graduate and Hewlett resident Carly Fisher created Rad Grad Creations to give kids an opportunity to commemorate graduations through photos and videos of their school or college experience. Upload photos and videos to create your own montage of memories, which will be personalized for your child and include traditions, imaging, and messages specific to his school.

Have a pretend diploma ceremony with a placeholder diploma and “special guest” speakers.

Just like the school-themed bar, if your family works together and gets creative, your child can have a “graduation day” full of laughs and surprises. Create a makeshift diploma and have family members give speeches about the school and your child’s experience (friends and relatives can call in on Zoom to give their own commencement addresses!). You can also play guest of honor trivia after the speeches end. Good luck not fighting over who gets to give your child her diploma!

Have a party and invite your child’s high school or college friends on Zoom so everyone can celebrate together!

There’s no doubt your child is missing his friends right now and the last memories they would’ve made. Host a virtual grad party for him and invite all of the family and friends who would’ve been in attendance for a regular party. Bring in the food and drinks and let the memories and friends make this a party your graduate will never forget!

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is an assistant editor and a graduate of The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. When she's not focused on writing special needs and education features, you can find her petting someone else's dog. See More

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