Graduation from middle school into junior high marks an important part of the transition into adulthood. While high school graduation celebrates a student’s completion of basic education and introduces her into a world of adult decisions and growth, graduation from eighth grade celebrates your child’s journey through the middle years of education and prepares her for exploring her passions.

High School Induction

Use the middle school graduation to get students excited about making high-school decisions, such as course selection. High school lays the foundation for an adult life. Choices in high school determine college eligibility; an art college aspirant needs to develop a portfolio by the end of high school, a musician-in-training needs to study music.

Invite the band and orchestra to play different songs for the graduating students. Decorate the walls of the auditorium or gymnasium with paintings and photographs from art students. Create a booth where science-loving students can share their work with next year’s freshmen.

Memory Slide Show

Because most matriculating eighth graders no longer attend the same school in ninth grade, create a memory slide show that encapsulates the three previous years. Include teachers, classrooms and student activities. Incorporate a narrative about events, both positive and negative, that affected the students and the world. Show pictures that celebrate the students’ ability to overcome adversity; include slides of charitable actions within the community or world.

Enlist the photography club to put together the slide show, or if your middle school has a strong art program, enlist the artists to draw caricatures of memories.

Time Capsule Graduation

Create a time capsule for future generations at the graduation. Each graduating eighth-grader includes advice for future generations of middle-school students. The teachers read over the advice to make sure that everything is “PG,” and the students insert their advice into a container that is sealed. In 10, 20 or even 50 years, share the advice with an incoming class of middle-school students.

If your students don’t change schools between eighth grade and high school, try this: Instead of advice, you could instruct your students to place messages to their older selves, and open the capsule at the high-school graduation ceremony.