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8th Grade Graduation

Graduating from 8th grade is a time for celebration. Your graduate is moving on to high school, which often means kids will be going in different directions.

When Ginger’s son graduated from 8th grade his class went on to six different high schools. This was the last of nine years together as a class. Their ceremony involved looking back to childhood experiences as well as inspiring words about their bright future.

The build up to the graduation ceremony involved several events:

  • A service project
  • Track and field days
  • A field trip
  • A class play

Someone took photographs and video at all of these events so we were treated to a great show at the ceremony.

The Graduation Ceremony

A service was held to honor the grads. Our Principal, one teacher and one student gave speeches. They were very different yet inspiring in their own way.

As you can see from the photo our students do not wear caps and gowns at the 8th grade level. Some schools do.

8th Grade Graduation

8th Grade Graduation

After the Ceremony Celebration!

After the ceremony a group of 7th grade parents served lemonade and cake. They had decorated the cafeteria with jerseys from the six different high schools these kids were attending in the fall. They had placed simple flowers on the dining tables.

Students mingled with their family members and each other. This is my son Charlie with my mother Nancy.

8th Grade Graduation

Charlie & Grandma

All Day Party!

The next day the class met at our local bowling alley for two games and pizza. After bowling they were driven by parents to a lake home where they enjoyed boating and yard games.

8th Grade Graduation Party

8th Grade Graduation Party

Dinner was hoagie sandwiches and chips. After dinner we showed a movie on a large inflatable screen. We were going to show it outside but it started to rain just before we inflated the screen so we moved they show indoors. Selecting the movie involved a very spirited discussion. We wanted something age appropriate and finally settled on Happy Gilmore.

8th Grade Graduation Party

8th Grade Graduation Party

Fun, Unique Graduation Invitations

We’re excited to have found a new Graduation Invitation company, Pear Tree Greetings, that offers a huge selection of fun and stylish graduation invitations, return address labels and thank you cards.

Their products are affordable and easy to order. Just pick a design you like and then customize it by adding your favorite photos, changing the colors and fonts, and adding your own text.

They also have coordinating products so for many of their invitations you can order matching address labels and thank you cards.

We especially love their collage photo invitations and round address labels.

Here’s a peek at some of their fun products:

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Invitation Ensemble

Graduation Party Checklist

Hosting a graduation party is a lot of work and it takes a lot of planning. As you’re thinking about ideas and making plans be sure to create a checklist of “to do’s” so you don’t forget anything later.

Create a time line and organize your “to do’s” within that time line. Try to get things done and out of the way as soon as possible. Graduation time is an extremely busy time of year and you’ll be thankful you got some things done early.

To give you an idea of what a time line might look like and to help you get started thinking about your own here’s one to start with …

6 weeks before the party:

  • Check your calendar and call the school to get a schedule of events happening at graduation time – graduation days & times, prom days & time, senior parties, etc. Don’t forget to include regular holidays and special events like Mother’s Day & Father’s Day.
  • Decide if you want to co-host a party with another family or multiple families.
  • Start collecting memorabilia – pictures, awards, trophies, newspaper clippings, special projects, artwork, etc.
  • Start assembling scrapbooks, poster boards, DVD’s, etc.
  • Determine your budget.
  • Pick the date & time for your party. The time is important for planning things like food. If your party is from 2-4pm then perhaps you’ll serve finger foods. If your party is early afternoon (eg: noon-3pm) then maybe you’ll serve a brunch. If your party is in the evening (eg: 4-7pm) then you’ll want to plan a more substantial menu.
  • Pick a location – your home or somewhere else?
  • Decide if you need to rent party supplies like tables, chairs, tent, catering supplies and start visiting your local rental companies to see what they have. Reserve these items as soon as you can as other people will be looking for them too.
  • Decide on a theme. Call for entertainment prices.
  • Start your invitation/guest list.
  • Decide on food and shop around for caterers. Select and reserve a caterer as soon as you can.
  • Buy tableware – plates, napkins, cutlery, serving dishes, glasses/cups.
  • Buy decorations – centerpieces, banners, yard signs, table cloths.
  • Buy party favors such as candy & chocolate bars.
  • Buy thank you notes, stamps, return address labels.
  • Find a place for your pets for the day of the party.
  • Buy greetings cards & gifts for your graduate & friends.
  • Save or buy storage containers for leftover food.
  • Notify out of town guests so they can make hotel & car reservations. Call them or send save the date cards.
  • Determine if any house repairs or yard work needs to be done.

3-4 weeks before the party:

  • Finish your scrapbooks, poster boards & DVD’s.
  • Decide on a cake or cupcakes and place your order with the bakery.
  • Order balloons.
  • Mail your invitations.
  • Confirm any reservations you have made – caterer, rental company, pet boarding, hotels for out of town guests.
  • Wrap gifts for graduate & friends.
  • Make cardholder box.

The week of the party:

  • Pick up beverages and store them somewhere cold – extra fridge or in your neighbor’s fridge.
  • Pick up non-perishable food as early as possible. Pick up other food closer to the party. Some food may need to be picked up on the day of the party. Recruit someone to do this for you.
  • Make sure you have lots of blank camera cards and video cartridges.
  • Charge video & camera batteries.
  • Send invitations to school with your graduate.
  • Review guest list and expectations with grad.
  • Confirm delivery of rental equipment. You’ll want this to arrive the day before the party. Plan to be there when equipment and supplies are delivered so you can check it.
  • Clean your house. Do as much ahead of time as you can.
  • Set up/hang decorations, banners, posters.
  • Confirm hotel reservations for out of town guests.
  • Mow the lawn (day or two before the party).
  • Clean your garage if you’re using this for your party or as a backup in case it rains.

The day before the party:

  • Pick up perishable food.
  • Last minute cleaning.
  • Last minute yard work.
  • Put up last minute decorations.
  • Set up tables.
  • Set up tent. Depending on weather this may be done day before the party or day of the party.
  • Pick up cake/cupcakes from bakery.

The day of the party:

  • Sleep as late as you can. You’re gonna need all the energy you can get!
  • Wake up your graduate with breakfast in bed.
  • Take your pets to a kennel or a friend’s house.
  • Pick up food from caterer or make sure you are there if it’s being delivered. Check what is picked up/delivered so you get what you expect.
  • Set out trash bins and recycling boxes (for cans and bottles).
  • Do last minute cleaning and tidying.
  • Sweep walkway, sidewalk & garage (if using).
  • Pick up balloons.
  • Set out yard signs and directional signs.
  • Put up outside decorations.
  • Set out tableware.
  • Set up serving dishes. Put out non-perishable food early in the day, persihable food at the last minute.
  • Set out coolers with ice and beverages.
  • Give your graduate a letter saying how proud you are of them.
  • Give your graduate a big hug and let the celebration begin!

Get ready for 2010 Grad Parties!

We haven’t posted in a while because we’ve been busy getting ready for the upcoming 2010 graduation season. We’ve updated our website, GraduationParty.com, with lots of new tips, ideas and 2010 graduation products. More will be added as they become available over the next few weeks so make sure you check back often.

New 2010 items include 2010 graduation invitations, 2010 graduation party decorations, 2010 graduation apparel (t-shirts, hoodies & more), college wear for those high school grads heading off to college, and lots, lots more.

Personalized Graduation Banners

Personalized Graduation Yard Signs

Personalized Mint Tins

Personalized Candy Bars

Casual Graduation Invitations

Graduation Party Invitations

Graduation Apparel

Photo Guest Books

New for 2010 is a photo Guest Book from OurHubbub.

Photo Guest Books are similar to photo books except there are lots of spaces for your guests to leave congratulatory messages. You can include plenty of pictures too. Pictures of your grad when he or she was a baby or just starting school. Pictures of your grad with family. Pictures of your grad with his or her friends. Pictures of your grad at Prom. Pictures of your grad’s senior photos. Any pictures you want.

A great idea is to include pictures of your grad with some of the family and friends who are invited to the party. They can leave congratulatory messages next to the pictures they’re in. Think of how much fun it would be for your grad’s friends to see themselves in pictures with your grad, especially when they’re younger. It will bring back some great memories!

I have ordered from OurHubbub a few times and they make an excellent high-quality product. Their website is fairly easy to navigate as well. I love this photo guest book! It makes a wonderful momento. 

For more information on how to order a photo guest book or to see other graduation guest books, go to GraduationParty.com’s Guest Book webpage.

Graduation Photo Guest Book

Graduation Photo Guest Book

More Graduation Photo Books

Graduation Photo Books are a great alternative to traditional scrapbooks. They usually have a template that you can use as is or modify any way you want. Most Photo Books start at a minimum of 20 pages but you can add more pages (up to 100 in most cases) at an additional cost per page.

Photo Books come in several sizes, from 5″x7″ up to 12″x12″. You can add multiple photos per page as well as text.

If your photos are already digital – on your computer, on your camera or on CDs – then creating a photo book is fairly easy. Simply find a template you like, upload your photos and then add the photos to the photo book. Some photo books allow you to embellish the pages with digital stickers and other graphics. Most let you add text such as descriptions and headings.

If you have printed photos then you can create digital versions by scanning them yourself or by having them professionally scanned at a local or online photo lab. If you scan your photos yourself, make sure you scan them at the best resolution and biggest size possible. The better the resolution, the clearer the picture will be when it’s printed.

If you don’t want to scan your photos you can always order a blank photo book (one with no photos) and then glue or tape in the printed photos yourself.

A photo book may be more economical to create than a scrapbook especially when you consider the cost of printing your photos and the cost of buying a scrapbook, scrapbook paper and embellishments.

For more information on Photo Books and some online photo labs that offer them go to GraduationParty.com’s Photo Book web page.

Graduation Photo Book

Graduation Photo Book

Graduation Photo Book

Graduation Photo Book

Time to start thinking about your graduation party

Well, the summer is over and the kids are back in school. Last year’s juniors are this year’s seniors.

A new group of parents is thinking about graduation next May or June and some are already making plans. If you’ve had a graduation party in the past then you know the ropes already. You know that you should start working on some things now before it gets too busy, like your scrapbooks and photo books.

But if this is your first graduation then you may be feeling a little overwhelmed or worried because you don’t know what you don’t know.

Not to fear. There’s lots of great information out there. You just need to find it. Start with our website, GraduationParty.com. It has tons of free advice and great suggestions. It’s a great resource that can help you decide what to do and what not to do.

If you feel more secure with something you can hold in your hands and make notes on, check out the book, “Graduation Parties: Everything You Need to Know From Start to Finish!”. You can buy it from GraduationParty.com. Most of the information in the book is also on the website.

Graduation Parties! Everything You Need to Know

Graduation Parties! Everything You Need to Know

Do I have to bring a gift to every grad party I go to?

Teachers, counsellors, coaches and other people who work with kids every day get invited to many graduation parties each year, especially if they’re well liked or make a significant contribution to the community. The dilemma these folks face is whether to bring a gift to every party they attend.

In general, gifts are not mandatory and it would be unrealistic to expect teachers, school staff, coaches, etc. to bring gifts to every party they attend. In fact, most grads don’t expect gifts from these people. They’re just thrilled if their mentors take the time to come to their party.

If you’re invited to a lot of parties and can’t afford to bring a gift to each one it would be nice if you could make or buy a card  and write a little congratulatory message or words of wisdom to the grad. But even that’s not necessary. Just making an appearance to the party is often “gift” enough.

My grad got an invitation. Am I invited too?

If your son or daughter is bringing home graduation party invitations you may be wondering if you’re invited to these parties too, especially if the invitations didn’t come through the mail addressed to you. What is the etiquette for these situations? You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by not going to their party but you also don’t want to show up to a party if the invitation wasn’t meant for you.

First look at the invitation to see what kind of party it is. For open house type parties go to the parties for the students you know personally and avoid the parties for the grads you don’t know.  If it’s an open house then chances are many people have been invited and even if you weren’t specifically invited it’s probably okay for you to go. If it’s a sit down dinner (most aren’t) and an RSVP is required then if the invitation wasn’t addressed to you then you weren’t invited.

Another question is whether your other kids are invited. If you’re not sure if you should bring your younger children it might be best to hire a sitter. If you know the family has kids the same age it’s probably okay to bring yours. But when in doubt you can always call and ask.

To avoid awkward situations like this for your own party, mail invitations to the parents you want to invite and make sure you address the envelope so the parents know they are invited. For example, if you want to invite the whole family address the envelope as “The Smith Family”. If you want to invite the parents plus their graduate but no other kids then address the envelope as “John, Jane and Ashley Smith”.

Don’t rely on your grad to pass out invitations to the parents of his or her friends. It’s best to mail them. There are many stories of invitations never making it to the parents. Feelings get hurt on both sides.

When invitations from other grads start coming in, set up a basket or special area to collect all your invitations. Encourage your grad to include the ones he or she receives. Make sure you note which parties you’re invited to and which ones are for your graduate only.

Get a special calendar and record all the parties you hope to attend. Include the times in case parties overlap. If there was ever a time to practice good scheduling habits this is it. Help your graduate keep track of all of their activities during this busy time.

Many kids are now using Facebook and other social networking websites to invite friends and classmates to their parties. Encourage your grad to note these parties, or at least the ones they want to attend, on the calendar.

If you’re invited to parties on the same day as your own, chances are you won’t make it. If an RSVP is requested call right away, explain the situation, compare notes and offer your congratulations. Keep in mind that you can go to other parties on other days.

And last but not least … have fun! Try not to stress too much about the parties you can or can’t go to. This should be an exciting and fun time for you and your grad.

Graduation Thank You Cards

After the graduation party there’s one last, very important thing that needs to be done … sending thank you cards or thank you notes. It’s customary (and polite) for the graduate to thank all the people who gave them a graduation gift or money.

To make this job a little easier, order personalized thank you cards well in advance of your party. Do it at the same time you order your invitations. Some invitations even have matching thank you cards. You’ll be glad later that you ordered them early.

Once you have your cards, how do you actually “make” your grad write a thank you note? One idea is to tape the checks and cash to the fridge. The grad gets the check or money after they write the thank you card, and not before. If your grad was given gifts too then have your grad write thank you cards for a check plus one gift. Then they get the check.

You can use generic thank you cards, graduation-themed thank you cards, photo thank you cards, or thank you postcards. The style doesn’t really matter. The most important thing is that you send them. GraduationParty.com has many different styles to choose from at reasonable prices. You can order photo note cards or photo postcards from online photo sites like Snapfish.    

Add some special touches to your thank you cards with graduation themed return address labels or envelope seals. Check out what’s available at GraduationParty.com.

Graduation Thank You Cards

Graduation Thank You Cards - click here for more Thank You Cards

Thank You Cards

Thank You Cards - click here for more Thank You Cards

Thank You Photo Postcards

Thank You Photo Postcards - click here for more Thank You Cards