For students graduating high school or college this year, some of the most important rites of passage will sadly be missed. However, while they can’t happen in the traditional way, that doesn’t mean they can’t be transformed for the lockdown era. Here are a few of the creative ways that young people are ensuring that their graduation is still celebrated:
The yearbook is a long-time tradition for students coming to the end of their high school journey, and this year’s graduates were determined not to miss out. A trend has emerged across the US where schools have reinvented the yearbook for the social media era by recreating it on Instagram. Each student is celebrated in a post sharing a yearbook-style photo and announcing which college they’ve been accepted into. Their peers post comments as if they were signing their friends’ yearbook. Check out examples from Conestoga, Pennsylvania and Broadneck, Maryland.
Online commencement speeches
Commencements speeches are part of the college graduation ceremony, typically given by an influential or inspiring person. While these usually take place in person, this year they have been given online and shared on YouTube. Famous faces who have given commencement speeches this year include Barack Obama, who took part in NBC’s #graduatetogether event. These speeches always have an inspirational or motivational tone, and this year that message is stronger than ever as the speakers share encouragement for students graduating at a strange and difficult time.
Another tradition that young people are missing out on this year is prom, an event high schoolers had been looking forward to for months or even years. A variety of events are being organised online in its place, including one by digital publisher Teen Vogue. On May 16, schools from across the country took part in their virtual prom, which took place on Zoom and featured celebrity appearances and performances from major music artists, ending with an afterparty hosted by Chipotle. In advance of the event, Teen Vogue shared a range of tutorials such as hair and makeup, style tips and dance classes to get attendees ready for the big night. Check out the highlights from the virtual prom.
In these examples, brands including NBC, Chipotle and Teen Vogue have demonstrated how graduation going online can create new opportunities for student engagement. These initiatives help to raise brand awareness and place the brands at the centre of key events within the high school and college experience. With major student events such as Back to School season coming up in the next few months, now’s the time to think about how your brand can be present at those special moments.
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