What to Include in Your High School Graduation Program

Event Planning Tips


So you’ve been given the opportunity to craft the program for the high school’s graduation ceremony. It’s a big job, and it’s extremely important that you create a stunning, yet informative document.

A graduation program will be every parent’s step-by-step countdown to the moment they can snap a picture of their son or daughter walking across the stage to shake the hand of the school’s principal. But, what should you include on this special occasion program to ensure that your audience is always informed about what’s coming next?

Not to worry, we’ve got you covered!

Entrance Information

As students enter the venue, will there be music playing? If so, find out which songs will be used, as well as how they’ll be played. If the music is live, it’s always a good idea to credit the people playing the music (i.e. the high school band) as opposed to the person who originally composed the notes.

Opening Remarks

Most ceremonies will include opening remarks, often from the salutatorian. It’s an opportunity to welcome everyone for coming before the awards and/or diplomas are given. You’ll want to be sure to note who will be speaking and include their title or reason for importance.

Class Awards

Awards are special for not only the recipient but for their family as well. Be sure to list out which students won which award (cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude, Most Likely to Succeed, Most Popular, etc.) so that parents can keep track as they’re being presented.

Visiting Speaker

If you’ve recruited someone to give a few words of wisdom to your students before they graduate, this is the place to include it. You’ll want to include their name, professional title, and maybe a little snippet that explains why they were chosen as this year’s speaker. If there is no outside speaker, feel free to exclude this from your program.

Presentation of Diplomas

After the first speech and distribution of awards, it’s time to get down to the main event. Take this opportunity to shine the light on whoever’s been assigned to hand out the diplomas and shake each student’s hand. If you intend to add the names of all the graduating students, be sure to list them alphabetically and organize them evenly on the page. Also, double check that you’ve got the correct spelling of each graduate’s name. The last thing a parent wants to see is their student’s name spelled wrong on their special day. For larger-size high school classes, this may require multi-page programs or several inserts!

Valedictorian’s Speech

After everyone’s gotten their diploma, it’s time for the class valedictorian to top the occasion off with an inspirational and uplifting speech. Again, you’ll want to be sure to include their name and their valedictorian status. However, be sure to avoid posting their GPA as this is personal information.


At the end of the ceremony, students will toss their hats into the air marking that the occasion is officially over. Either the students will file out in an orderly fashion — in which case, include the song they’re marching to — or they’ll simply filter out slowly on their own.

Even if you do accidentally forget one or two things when you’re trying to craft the perfect program for your high school graduation, you can be sure that the audience will overlook it if your itinerary is printed on one of PaperDirect’s high-quality specialty programs.