How to survive a graduation ceremony


Graduation ceremonies have a reputation for being long and monotonous and, if children are involved, potentially disastrous. Seasoned graduation-attending veterans have passed down tips on how to make graduation a fun experience for both children and adults.

Come equipped with snacks and games

Those who have attended a graduation ceremony — or any ceremony, for that matter —with young children know this is no easy task. Tom Steele, from Pleasant Grove, with eight children and 30 grandchildren, knows this well.

“Come prepared with age-appropriate aids, particularly quiet activities like books, coloring books, dolls, quiet toys, iPad,” Steele advised. “Go light on the food, especially on the sugar, but remember water.”

Kaushay Colvin, a journalism major from Iowa, has also attended a ceremony with young children. Similar to Steele’s advice, Colvin thinks games are a great way to entertain children.

“All of the graduations that I’ve been to have been with family members. Generally, we have a group of people ranging from 3 to 80 years old with us,” Colvin said. “I think the best way we have been able to keep the younger kids entertained is by playing with them. We bring small toys or games for the kids.”

Get a program, and play the name game

Some families may only grab one program per family, which is usually what’s encouraged. However, as the ceremony drags on and people’s attention spans begin to dwindle, having a personal program to flip through can help pass the time.

Some audience members enjoy looking through all the names and counting how many of each name they can find, the oddest name in the bunch, or the name of each member in their family.

“One of our favorite things to do is find uncommon names and guess how they should be pronounced,” Colvin said.

Hope something crazy happens

There are always people who sit at the edge of their seat, hoping that the next graduate to walk the stage will do a cartwheel, start a flash mob or crowd surf into the graduates in front.

Although nobody crowd-surfed or cartwheeled at her high school graduation, Abigail Smith, a BYU student majoring in public health, witnessed an even bigger disruption there.

“Halfway through the names, a tornado siren went off, and they decided they needed to evacuate everyone,” Smith said. “So after being in various locker rooms and places with no windows, we went back to the court. They tried to finish everything as quickly as possible.”

Although the likelihood of a tornado coming through Utah County is slim, a slight disturbance could be a good change of pace for members of the audience.

Go with the right attitude

Graduation ceremonies can be long, repetitive and even painful to sit through. But in the end it’s important to remember the reason people still continually attend — the graduates. The graduates made it to the finish line, and nobody wants to miss them cross it, regardless of the circumstance’s lack of actual pomp.

“My favorite part about attending a graduation ceremony is seeing the smiles of the graduates as they walk off the stage,” Colvin said. “There’s just a feeling after the ceremonies that can’t help but make you feel proud of all the people that crossed that stage during the ceremony.”

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