Student Essay: Ideas for graduation celebrations in COVID times

Posted: 2021-06-25 10:05:51 By: thebay

With COVID dictating or flipping every plan upside down and inside out, the Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) is doing board-wide virtual graduations this year. 

Graduating students will say their goodbyes via Google Meet or Zoom; pick up their diploma on a pick-up date by themselves or in small groups; yet they will still be isolated and unable to celebrate with all of the graduating class. For many seniors, counting down the months, and then the days until graduation was a long build-up of anticipation. Since the school’s hands are tied and there won’t be a traditional grad this year, here are three ways to celebrate away from school . . . 

Drive-By Celebration

Get your signs and horns out for a graduation parade. A celebration that will become known as a Quarantine trend. Drive-by graduation festivities can be either a private or public party. A public parade is a good idea if you and your loved ones are separated by distance and they are unable to attend the event, put the invite out (if you are comfortable) on your Facebook page with a date, time, and place of where to go for a drive-by. Depending on your guests you may want to set up a place to drop off gifts or treats. It may also be a good idea to set up goodie bags with water and/or food for those who made the trip.

If you are planning to do a Drive-By Grad Celebration, here are a few things you could need . . .  

  • Signs and decorations           
  • Invites or advertisements 
  • Drop off/pick-up table(s)
  • Sunblock or umbrellas 
  • Snacks and drinks 
  • Camera or video, something to remember the event by
  • Lawn chairs 
  • Backyard Celebration

A Great Gatsby dinner, an under-the-stars celebration, or whatever theme you choose, what better way to celebrate in the comfort of your backyard? With Covid cases going down and restrictions relaxing, this allows for graduates to celebrate with their closest family and friends in the yard. For a backyard party, you will need to do or collect the following:

  • Pick a date and time    
  • Send invites 
  • Decide what to serve
  • Pick a theme and decor 
  • Find out who is coming 
  • Know the up-to-date COVID restrictions/gathering limits
  • Will it be a surprise for the graduate? 
  • What decorations and refreshments you need/want to have 


Graduate Dinner

To graduate at any stage of your education is a huge accomplishment, hosting a meal in honor of the graduate is a great way to celebrate this achievement. This event can be hosted as a household event only, or if COVID restrictions allow, you could invite a select few outsiders to join in the celebration. Let the graduate take the lead on how the evening will run or let it be a complete surprise. 

Dress up or keep it casual, cook at home or possibly support a restaurant in your town with take-out or patio dining; whatever you do, make it a meal to remember. If you are hosting at your table, perhaps decorate a special chair for the guest of honor, and decorate the table to the nines. If you want to do something more relaxing, try renting that movie you have been dying to see off of Amazon Prime and do a smorgasbord of food in the comfort of your living room and PJs.

If this appeals to you, make sure to consider the following, 

  • Are you cooking yourself, going out or take-out
  • Then, either plan out a menu and grocery list or call ahead to the restaurant to see how many people are allowed in one party
  • Determine the type of decor do you want or need if eating in
  • Prepare a guest list

With TLDSB making the board-wide decision of virtual graduations, and staff looking for loopholes to celebrate their graduating students. The above ideas will hopefully inspire you and your loved ones to celebrate upcoming milestones. It’s only fitting for graduates to have spectacular celebrations; after all, they worked hard for it. 


Article and Photography By Danielle McPherson, for

Danielle is an aspiring professional photographer – and media member – with a passion to be behind the lens. Already with a strong portfolio, Danielle is doing her Huntsville High School media co-op with Chris Occhiuzzi of Dockside Publishing, Muskoka Unlimited and Hunters Bay Radio.