How to Conduct a Graduation Ceremony

Updated July 20, 2017

Graduation ceremonies give children a sense of accomplishment and help emotionally prepare them for the next level of education. Some elementary schools have simple graduation ceremonies for kindergarten students. Elementary and middle schools hold graduation ceremonies sometimes called promotion ceremonies that help families celebrate their children's achievements. High school and college graduation ceremonies often involve larger venues, caps and gowns and more detailed programs.

Choose an appropriate venue for the graduation ceremony. The type of venue you need will vary based on the type of graduation ceremony and how many visitors you expect. Hold ceremonies for elementary schools in the school auditorium or gym. Hold middle school graduations in the school auditorium or outside, weather permitting. Sometimes high schools will open their auditoriums for neighbouring middle schools to hold graduation ceremonies. High school auditoriums may be too small for high school graduations. Use outdoor stadiums for these types of ceremonies.

Start the ceremony with a welcome address. Choose a person of authority in the school to give this welcome. For high, middle and elementary schools, the principal fits this role. The welcome address welcomes the guests and the students to the ceremony. The principal also makes a short speech about the students in the graduating class.

Give a commencement speech or address to the audience. In high school, valedictorians, those with the highest grades in the graduating class, usually give this speech. For elementary and middle schools, choose students that both want to give the speech and are recognised by the student body for their stellar character and academic achievements. The speaker speaks to the graduating students. The speech reviews the past in terms of academics and achievements of the students and then speaks toward the future.

Honour particular students with awards. Include awards based on academic or athletic achievement, outstanding citizenship and perfect attendance. If time allows, give a brief description of the award and the reason the winner was chosen.

Pass out diplomas to each graduating student. The type of diploma varies by the type of school. High schools pass out diplomas embossed and mounted in a diploma cover. Middle and elementary schools print the student's name on a certificate form filled in with the school name and the date of graduation.


Music can add to your graduation ceremonies. Traditionally, "Pomp and Circumstances," the school song and the national anthem are played..

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