Caroline Clifford, director of special events,
Congratulations, Northampton Community College graduates! You worked hard towards your goal of earning a degree so now it’s time to celebrate your fabulous achievement.
The reality of being a graduate in 2020 means there are limitations on how you can celebrate. The traditional approach of gathering your loved ones together for cake is not an option as we all share the responsibility of keeping one another safe from the spread of COVID-19.
The good news is you can still celebrate with family and friends in a number of ways. It may not be the party you pictured a year ago, but it can still be fun and meaningful!
Virtual gatherings using conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Facebook Live or House Party are the new way to party. The advantage of going virtual is that your friends and family can celebrate with you from wherever they are, even if it is across the country. During this time of social distancing, connecting and celebrating is more crucial than ever before. Your commencement is the perfect time to bring your loved ones together and they will be eager to celebrate this milestone with you.
Here are eight easy ways to make your virtual party – a party!
1. Email an invitation to your guests with the link to your event. NCC has provided custom evites for all of its grads! You can find it on NCC's website here. Or you can use templates from Evite or Paperless Post or a simple email will do.
2. Decorate your space with signs, balloons and streamers and/or use a festive virtual background. DIY your decorations or purchase them online from Oriental Trading or Shindigz. Don’t forget to ‘dress the part’ (at least from the waist up)!
3. Consider a theme such as a tropical island or your favorite colors (blue, white & orange for NCC) and ask your guests to dress up and decorate, too.
4. Prepare a short speech. Take a few minutes to share the highlights of your journey and your dreams for the future. Give shout outs to the people who helped you along the way.
5. Ask your guests to ‘bring’ their beverage of choice so you can all toast to the Class of 2020!
6. Create a music playlist for everyone to enjoy. Encourage your guests to show off their moves with some dancing.
8. For an ‘over the top’ idea, include a celebrity appearance using Cameo, a new platform where you can hire your favorite celebrity to give you a shout out.
Additionally, we hope you’ll be watching NCC’s virtual commencement ceremony on June 18th when registered graduates will be recognized, and degrees will be conferred. You may not be walking across the stage in the Spartan Gym but you can create your own ‘stage’ at home and turn your tassel with the rest of your class at the exact same time.
Find other ways to celebrate virtually at https://www.northampton.edu/commencement-2020.htm, including custom social media posts, covers, downloadable yard signs, and more!
You worked hard to achieve this milestone and you deserve to celebrate. Whether you celebrate with others or on your own, be sure to take the time and congratulate yourself for your impressive efforts. Oprah Winfrey said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” I say, never miss an opportunity to celebrate!