Last month, England’s Newcastle University Medical School celebrated its first-ever online graduation ceremony, where the graduating doctors in the Class of 2020 read aloud their Hippocratic Oath on Flipgrid.
One by one, 239 graduates recorded themselves reciting one of the oldest and most sacred declarations in medicine. In doing so, they confirmed their selfless commitment to serving our global community.
They weren’t standing among peers or professors or family members in the crowd. There weren’t caps or gowns or medallions or the creaks of the stage as ceremonial steps echoed in an auditorium.
Undeterred, Newcastle University Medical School leaders figured out a way to celebrate their graduates, even when they could not be together physically.
These days, we find different ways to celebrate and honor the ones we love – as they marry, have babies, complete a science project or graduate from school. Those 239 medical school graduates in England weren’t expecting their years of time and effort to culminate without pomp and circumstance, but the adaptation meant that we all got to be a part of the occasion and celebrate these inspiring individuals.
Let’s take a look at ways that both schools and families can honor the graduation celebrations we’ve all been looking forward to – with personalized recognition, beautiful tribute, and hope for what’s to come.
Memories, Plans, and More
Create a new Grid and Topic for your graduation. Then, ask a school leader, guest or Valedictorian to record a commencement speech and add the video to your Topic prompt. Finally, encourage each graduate to respond to the Topic with comments on:
- Plans for the future
- Favorite school year memory
- Favorite tradition
Class Speeches Topic
Create a Topic for student or guest speeches intended for the special day. You could also invite a special guest speaker: Considering there are no physical invitations to be extended, perhaps your school can invite someone famous or a local celebrity to record a speech for your virtual ceremony.
Special Graduate Recognition
Include as a Topic Focus a slideshow presentation that shares a picture of each graduate, a list of their accomplishments as well as a verbal announcement of each name. You also could record a YouTube Live presentation, in which the principal or president of the school stands up on stage and announces each graduate and their accolades.
School Community Applause
Create a Topic for faculty and staff to offer their own messages of applause and encouragement (Newcastle University also created a separate Grid that included messages of encouragement from school faculty.)