Spring is normally a time of celebrating milestones and experiencing lasts that students remember forever. However, this end-of-year experience has been cut short for the Class of 2020. They worked hard and had last games to play, proms to attend, graduations to walk, and their final months as members of their youth groups to enjoy. But we believe we can still make this season special for the seniors—social distancing and all!
You have probably seen some ideas already like schools turning on stadium lights to honor their seniors or your friends and parent’s friends posting their own senior pictures to celebrate the Class of 2020. But what can you do for your students?
1) Host a livestream celebration
With so many services happening online, take a moment in one of your youth services or your main church service to honor your students. Depending on how large your senior class is, you can even plan a whole service dedicated to them. Collect videos from your seniors talking about their favorite youth group experience and how they plan to continue fostering their relationship with God as they move forward into adulthood. Also ask them to send short bios, quotes, and pictures to share during your service.
2) Empower a senior-led service
Invite your senior students do a short sermon or two, lead worship, or do the announcements. If you have a student who is camera-shy, let them take over the youth social media for the day or suggest other behind-the-scenes media they can help with. They are about to enter a world where they will be looked to for decisions and leadership—give them a starting point by empowering them to minister to you and their peers.
3) Coordinate a senior letter drop
Ask youth leaders, church pastors, and fellow students to write handwritten notes to your seniors. These letters can include encouragement and prayers, memories, or advice. Try to collect as many as possible to maximize the celebration. Drop them all off with a treat for your senior.
4) Drop off a celebration box
Drop off at students’ homes a box filled with graduation décor; a new Bible or devotional book; a gift card; youth group swag; and the handwritten notes from their youth leaders, pastors, and fellow students. This will help create a festive environment for them and give them words of encouragement to cherish as they move into the next stage of life!
5) Organize a graduation party car parade
To elevate your celebration box, organize a graduation party parade. Ask parents, volunteer leaders, and other church members to create posters and decorate their cars. Schedule a time for the parade to drive by your students’ houses—make sure they come outside to enjoy the celebration! Community can still thrive even from across a driveway.
6) Create a virtual yearbook
Prom and graduation aren’t the only thing seniors are missing out on right now; they are also missing out on end-of-year memories and the chance to say goodbye to their friends. Gather video messages from youth leaders, church pastors, and other students for each of your seniors. Create something meaningful they can keep and remember their senior year by. The videos can be an encouragement to the student, a favorite memory, or a prayer. Get creative!
The ultimate goal is to make seniors feel seen, loved, supported, and confident moving forward. Connection and community are more important now than ever before, so no matter what you do to honor your students, make sure to connect with them personally. Continue to reach out with support, offer a listening ear, and foster community. You have led them this far and now, with your help, they will be ready to take their final steps as students into a new season.