SummaryMake the most of your homeschool Graduation Day! Six tips to help applaud your accomplishments and share your joy on a day for celebration and gratitude.
You’ve done it! You’re graduating!
Graduation is a time for looking back and a time for looking ahead. It’s a rite of passage, a major step into adulthood, and a distinguished achievement.
It’s a day for celebration, a day when all those who helped bring you to this time and place in your life—your parents, grandparents, siblings, mentors, coaches, friends—want to applaud your accomplishments and share your joy. It’s a day for gratitude.
It’s your day, and you want to make the most of it.
Here are some tips to help you celebrate this grand occasion.
Start Your Preparations Now
Make your graduation an event to remember. Make it personal.
There are a myriad of ways to celebrate your commencement.
Maybe you want to come to Front Royal, Virginia, and participate in the graduation activities and ceremonies with other Seton students. If so, visit the Seton graduation page, find out the details for registration, and send in your information.
All the details are at: setonhome.org/graduation.
Maybe you need to stick closer to home. If you belong to a Catholic homeschool group, maybe you’ll participate with them in a graduation Mass. Maybe you’ll plan an individual graduation: a Mass, some activity with friends and family, a cookout, the ceremony itself.
Six Step Checklist
- Pick the date and time of day with care. If, for example, your group is planning a graduation Mass, be sure to approach the priest well ahead of time. Have an alternate day in mind if he is unavailable on the date you have chosen.
- Design the graduation ceremony. Even if you are the only one graduating, come up with an events schedule for the graduation. Will there be a speaker? Music? Refreshments? A written program? In my Catholic homeschooling group, whenever our children graduated, the parents delivered a short talk about their student, a talk often laced with laughter and tears, and presented the diploma. I have also attended equally powerful homeschool graduations in back yards. Why powerful? Because the graduates and their parents had organized the event and because the speaker and presenter of the diploma, often the parent, wrote out or memorized a speech rather than delivering rambling, off-the-cuff remarks.
- Send out invitations. Don’t phone. Don’t use email. Mail out invitations and announcements. If space permits, invite all your friends and family to attend the event. Cousin Bob and Aunt Bertha want to share this moment with you. They’ll likely give you some small gift as well. Be sure to send the invitations in plenty of time for others to make their plans.
- Pick a site for your graduation that will accommodate your guests and changes in the weather. Each year, the staff at Seton work hard to provide for these variables. Tents and tarps are erected for the outdoor events. Seton rents a local public high school auditorium for the ceremony, thereby allowing room for a maximum number of graduates and their guests. If you are not attending the graduation at Seton, you need to do the same sort of planning. If you are holding a graduation ceremony in your home, decide where that ceremony will take place. If you are planning an outdoor graduation, have a backup plan in case of rain.
- Make Mass a part of your plans. Some churches offer Graduation Masses for all parish graduates. There’s no better way to kick off your commencement day than by attending Mass.
- Visit the Internet when making your plans. Google “Catholic graduation ceremonies,” and you’ll find several sites with some excellent ideas for livening up your ceremony.
Enjoy Your Graduation Day
Though not as stressful as a wedding, a graduation can sometimes bring strain and frayed feelings. You’re wearing a black suit with brown cowboy boots, your dad tells you to ditch the boots, and you get into a huff. Your three-year-old brother throws a tantrum on the way to Mass. Your best friend forgets to bring the poem she was supposed to read during the ceremony.
Things are going to go awry. In Scalia Speaks, a collection of speeches and writings by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Christopher Scalia relates the story of his own graduation from high school. His father was the commencement speaker, and Christopher introduced him to the audience.
Christopher did a splendid job until the time came to say his father’s name and shake his hand as he approached the lectern. To his great mortification, he mispronounced his father’s first name. (For the record, Judge Scalia pronounced it as “AN-tuh-nin.” And as Christopher points out, President Reagan also mispronounced the name when appointing Judge Scalia to the Court.)
These things happen. Time to let the small stuff go. Time to hop aboard and enjoy the drive.
An Attitude of Gratitude
The day has passed. You are now officially a graduate of Seton Home Study School. You are ready for future challenges: college, the workplace, or military service.
But you have one last task. You need to write thank you letters.
You need to write notes of gratitude to those who gave you gifts at your graduation, no matter how small. If Uncle Bill slipped you five dollars, you write a note and thank him. (It’s just Uncle Bill’s way of doing things.) If Aunt Sally gave you $200 and a laptop, you write a note and thank her.
Even then, you’re not quite done. Now is the perfect time to write thank you letters to all those who had a hand in your education. Writing such notes can have a powerful impact on these people.
Tell your basketball coach how much his efforts meant to you. Thank your priest for his guidance during your high school years. Mail out a note to your best friend and tell her how much you have appreciated her advice and her loyalty. Finally, write a letter to your parents or guardians, thanking them for the education they have given you.
Take Pride in Your Accomplishments
You’re a Seton graduate. Unlike many students these days, you have worked your way through an arduous academic program. As you well know, Seton Home Study School demands hard work, application, independent study, and willpower.
Consequently, you are stepping into the world equipped with tools that will prove invaluable for the rest of your life: the ability to write well, to analyze, to read critically, and to continue your studies, should you wish to do so, in mathematics, science, languages, and other academic fields.
In the August 2016 edition of Seton Magazine, graduate Mary Donellen published “3 Unexpected Reasons Why I’m A Grateful Homeschool Graduate.” In that fine article, she mentions attending a Mass for all those in her parish graduating from high school, followed by a luncheon. She writes that other attendees were stunned when nearly fifty people came to her graduation, but as she says,
“…we homeschoolers like to go out in style!”
You can do the same.