Loud music, tables overflowing with food and graduation-themed decorations fill many houses throughout the months of May and June. Photos of the host are often scattered around the house as the guests stream in and out of the rooms. Hosts put much thought into planning the refreshments and entertainment that will be featured, including activities such as cornhole, video games and photo booths for the guests’ enjoyment. Graduation parties will soon be in full swing as many seniors celebrate the conclusion of their high school careers.
Senior Sofia Wainwright, who is attending Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall, has started thinking about and planning her party.
“I’m having [my graduation party] at my house and inviting mostly friends rather than family [because] my relatives live far [away], so they are unable to come,” Wainwright said. “I’m most excited to see all my friends and have an event where things will be relaxed and just fun.”
Graduation-themed decorations are a key part to making the party come to life. Some hosts have streamers, balloons, photographs or even a combination of all three.
“I’m going to have pictures of me and my friends,” Wainwright said. “I’ll most likely have balloons and streamers around the house, and I would like to have some cornhole and giant Jenga outside for people to play.”
Sometimes, close friends decide to host a graduation party together. For example, seniors Caroline Barnes, who will be going to Lynchburg University (LCU), and Julia Brunner, who will attend Christopher Newport University (CNU), have been friends since preschool and are planning to host a joint party.
“I’m really excited to just hang out, eat food with a bunch of my classmates and celebrate the ending of our high school careers,” Barnes said. “I’m not really sure how we’re going to decorate yet, but I know we’re going to have Rita’s Italian Ice because both Julia and I have a shared obsession for it.”
Seniors Thomas Sherrier, who is attending Virginia Tech, and Jeffrey Rhoads, who is going to the University of Virginia, will also be hosting a party together.
“The party will be at my house, and we are having a lot of friends and family over to celebrate with food and games and have fun remembering our lives up to that point,” Sherrier said. “I am most excited for the food; we are still deciding between Chipotle and Willard’s, but either choice will be great and having those leftovers in the house will be a blessing.”
Many students hope to take advantage of the warm weather by hosting their parties outside.
“We aren’t going heavy on decorating, since it is going to be outside in my backyard, but we will make the yard look nice with mowing and raking, but not too much decoration per se,” Sherrier said. “Either way, I’ll just be happy to be with my close friends.”
Friends are an important part of a graduation party, but so is the celebration of family. Parents play an important role not only in the planning of the party, but also by supporting their children throughout high school.
“My parents have been super supportive through my school life; sometimes it’s just trusting me to watch Netflix all the time and still get my work done, and sometimes it’s helping me with projects,” Sherrier said. “I appreciate them a ton for helping me with all of my college [applications] and extracurricular activities, and they’ve always trusted me and been there when I need them.”
Seniors host graduation parties to come together with family and friends and celebrate the past four years as well as what the future may hold.
“It’s the conclusion to one of the many chapters in our lives and, after this year, we might not get the chance to see everyone we know now,” Barnes said. “It is sad to think about, but I can’t wait to see what college has in store.”