Let's celebrate teachers and graduates - AZEdNews
Sections    Friday March 31st, 2023

Let’s celebrate teachers and graduates

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  • Shannon Sowby   |   Expect More Arizona

Mesa Students Graduate

There is a lot of uncertainty right now – in our local communities, statewide and around the world. But we are confident of the following:

  • Arizona’s teachers – from preschool through college – are amazing. In every corner of our state, educators continue to give their all to support student success.
  • Arizona’s spring 2020 graduates worked really hard to reach this milestone, whether they completed high school, a PhD or anything in between.
  • Teacher appreciation activities and graduation ceremonies won’t look the same this year, but that doesn’t mean the celebration can’t be bigger than ever!


While schools, colleges, individuals and families will undoubtedly find innovative ways to celebrate, we think it’s important to show educators and graduates that all of Arizona recognizes their efforts and accomplishments.

We have selected the following days to coordinate a statewide effort:

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 – Arizona Teacher Appreciation Day (in alignment with National Teacher Appreciation day)

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 – Arizona Graduate Recognition Day


  • Spread the word. We want as many Arizonans as possible to participate in the celebration.
  • Join the celebration. You may have already been planning your own effort to celebrate teachers or graduates, which is great! We hope you’ll also participate on May 5 and May 20.
    • Lead an effort in your community. Make it fun. Challenge your community to “out-celebrate” a rival school, neighboring town, etc.
    • Share your ideas with us.

 Let Your Neighbors Know if you are a Graduate or a Teacher

  • Arizonans are sheltering in place, for now, but many of us have taken to walking or biking around our neighborhoods. While many of us probably say hello to our neighbors in passing, perhaps we’re unaware if they are teachers or soon-to-be-graduates.
  • Here are some self-identification ideas:
  1. Decorate a front door (or yard tree/bush) with school colors
  2. Make a homemade banner
  3. “A Spring 2020 grad lives here” or “Soon to be a [fill in school] alum”
  4. “A [third grade] teacher lives here” or “Proud to teach at [school/day care/college]!
  5. Decorate car with school colors
  6. Use a shipping box as a yard sign (or window sign) to celebrate a graduate
  7. Make a homemade cap and gown to wear on May 20
  8. AZEdNews has created a digital yearbook for graduating high school seniors. Add your picture!
Let's celebrate teachers and graduates Year-Book-2-300x136

Ideas for individuals

 (If you have school-age kids, get them involved!)

  • Chalk your driveway or the sidewalk in front of your house with encouraging messages for grads and notes of appreciation for teachersLet's celebrate teachers and graduates you-are-amazing-chalk-image-300x200
  • Consider personalizing the messages with the names of teachers or grads.
  • Live near a canal or park where you often walk, consider chalking there!
  • Display the colors of your neighborhood school(s)
  • Download and print one of our signs and display in a window or on a front door
  • Orchestrate a block driveway party to celebrate graduates
  • Share messages of congratulations/recognition on social media using the appropriate hashtag
  • Families (or graduating classes) could coordinate a virtual graduation party; create school-themed virtual backgrounds that all students can use
  • Support this year’s seniors by sharing your senior year picture (no matter how old you are) on social media as a tribute to the Class of 2020 graduates
  • Make homemade yard signs or banners
  • Orchestrate a neighborhood parade of cars, or simply decorate your own car with signs, balloons, bells, etc. and drive around your neighborhood
  • If your family picks up meals at school for your children, consider decorating your car for teacher appreciation
  • Orchestrate a time for everyone in your neighborhood or on your block to come outside and bang pots and pans and or clap or play celebratory music
  • Send a virtual e-card to your favorite graduate or teachers (American GreetingsPunchbowlBlue Mountain, and Paperless Post all have free e-card options)
  • Use TikTok to issue a celebration challenge to showcase your dance skill and include the appropriate hashtags
  • Connect with other 2020 graduates on Instagram account @AZClassof2020 (run by student body presidents across the state)
  • Using the appropriate social media hashtags, share pictures or short videos of your celebrations

Ideas for companies/organizations

  • Take out an ad in the local paper recognizing teachers and/or graduates
  • Consider a home page takeover of your company website on May 5 and/or May 20 with a message of congratulations/appreciation
  • Display a sign or banner on the side of your building or light up your building with an image or message, if appropriate
    • Consider printing and hanging banners near any neighborhood schools
  • Share messages of congratulations/recognition on social media using the appropriate hashtag
  • Local restaurants could include a general message to educators and graduates with deliveries or pick-up orders on May 5 and 20

Ideas for schools

  • Include a note or message in food bags at meal pick-up or display signs at meal pick-up sites
  • Use school marquees to share a message of encouragement or appreciation
  • Include information in principal or superintendent messages home to students and families about days of celebration
  • Have a principal or student body president issue a TikTok challenge using the appropriate hashtag
  • High schools across the state are recognizing the Class of 2020 graduates every Friday night by lighting up the football stadium at 20:20 (8:20 p.m.) for 20 minutes and 20 seconds

Thank you in advance for joining the celebrations!

Have other ideas of how individuals or organizations can celebrate? Share them with us and we’ll add to this list as appropriate!

Click here to get the Celebrations started