Graduation From Middle School

Updated December 15, 2018
Throwing graduation hats

Just yesterday your child was getting on the bus for kindergarten, and now they're graduating middle school. Preparing for a middle school graduation can seem daunting. Find out the basics of the ceremony and attire, along with party and gift options to make your middle schooler's graduation fabulous.

Middle School Graduation Ceremonies

Many junior high schools have a graduation ceremony for students who have successfully completed the coursework to move on to high school. Since middle school grades vary, the ceremony may be for 8th graders going into 9th grade at a high school, or for 9th graders heading to a high school that starts at 10th grade. Basically, they are graduating from the middle school and joining the high school ranks.

The Ceremony

Middle school graduations typically mimic a high school graduation. The ceremony can be as simple or complex as is desired by the school, but may include the following elements:

  • Seating
  • Processional of students
  • National anthem/pledge of allegiance
  • Opening remarks
  • Motivational/inspirational speech
  • Speeches of class salutatorian and valedictorian, if applicable
  • Presentation of diplomas/or special awards
  • Musical interlude or singing of school song
  • Closing remarks
  • Recessional
  • Reception

Making It More Unique

If you want to make your middle school graduation really spectacular from last year, parents or educators involved may want to consider:

  • Hiring a speaker to give a motivational or inspirational speech to students
  • A special program or pamphlet mentioning the graduation class and any special accomplishments of students
  • Musical accompaniment by school band, choir, or orchestra
  • Memory slideshow that shows the children through the years
  • Children make special gifts for their parents to give at the reception

Using a Theme

Adding themes to an 8th grade graduation can make it even more special. There are different themes that you might choose. For example:

  • Hawaiian theme: Students could receive lays instead of certificates when their names are called. Students could wear Hawaiian shirts and have palm tree table decorations at the reception.
  • Dr. Seuss theme: Use decorations in red and white and have someone read the book "Oh, the Places that You'll Go!" Maybe students also receive this book as a gift.
  • Heritage theme: Students might wear clothing that signifies their heritage, or bring food from a country they like. Decorations could be world maps or globes.
  • Growing Up Together: Memories make the best themes for an 8th grade graduation party. You could have decorations with images through the years of the graduating class along with a video montage of images.

What to Wear

Whether you wear a cap and gown or not, you'll want your attire to show how you have grown from a kid into a teen. Therefore, most middle school graduations are a dressy affair rather than your typical 8th grade outfit. You might wear:

  • A graduation dress, which comes in a variety of junior styles
  • Dress shirt and slacks
  • Suit

Students may also be encouraged to dress for graduation in a uniform manner, such as white shirt and black dress pants or skirts, or educators may suggest dressing in the school colors, fun clothing or specific themed clothing. Check your school's graduation dress code to be sure.

Cap and Gown

Graduated student girl

Schools who choose to have students in academic regalia for the ceremony may choose to purchase gowns in a variety of sizes from a store such as Graduate Affairs, which lets students borrow them, and re-use them each year. Caps may be purchased by a Parent-Teacher Organization or by the individual graduates.

Junior High Graduation Announcements

Many parents may choose to send graduation announcements upon completion of junior high, or plan an open house or middle school graduation party. Simple announcements can be made on a home computer, or many sites offer free printable graduation announcements and invitations, such as Print Free. You can also purchase middle school grad announcements from party or stationery stores or online. Including a photo is a fun way to include out-of-town friends and relatives in the occasion and show off how the graduate has grown.

Middle School Graduation Parties

Parents may choose to host an open house or party when their child graduates from middle school. This is typically a casual affair, such as a barbeque or pool party, or simply appetizers or cake to honor the graduate. Simple backyard games such as volleyball, bocce ball, and Frisbee are a fun way to entertain young teens, tweens, and well-wishers. Other party games and a band or DJ might also be considerations for a large or more elaborate gathering.

Unique Locations or Themes

Plenty of different themes are available to make your teens graduation top notch. Try considering:

  • A laser tag party or roller rink: Kids can skate and play laser tag while celebrating their graduation.
  • Video game party. Get the controllers and headsets ready for an all-nighter. Theme it with Minecraft party ideas.
  • Luau: To follow your Hawaiian graduation, consider a luau in your backyard.
  • A night to remember: Have teens create a time capsule to bury to dig up when they graduate from high school. Then, dance the night away.

Middle School Graduation Gifts

Friends and relatives may want to give graduation cards or gifts to commemorate and celebrate the graduation from middle school. Cards may be sentimental, filled with age-appropriate humor, or contain motivational or inspirational graduation sayings, or simply a message of congratulations.

Beyond a Card

What types of gifts work well for a middle school graduate? As long as it is age appropriate for the young teen, anything goes. A few ideas include:

  • A small to moderate amount of money
  • Name plaques or other personalized gifts
  • Journals or scrapbooks
  • Bluetooth speakers or headphones
  • A watch or item of jewelry
  • A messenger bag, cool backpack, or other carry-all
  • Trendy cell phone or tablet case
  • iTunes and Google Play gift cards
  • Fun novelty items such as plush graduation animals or figurines

Larger graduation gifts might include a new desk or items such as cellular phone, iPod, digital camera, tablet, laptop or camcorder.

Graduating in Style

Whether simple or elaborate, there are many ways to commemorate a graduation from middle school and make this time a special and wonderful one. Graduation events are perfect for highlighting a student's accomplishments during middle school and preparing for his or her future success.

Graduation From Middle School