A 25th anniversary is a very big deal for a private school. Many private schools begin with just a handful of students and the future can seem uncertain in the early days. Looking back on the school's history and celebrating how far the school---and its students---have come is an excellent way to bring together current students and staff with graduates, former teachers, and the parents who invested financially so that their children could attend.
Along one wall, create a timeline just like students in history class make. Show important events in the schools history and include photographs, yearbooks, and interesting facts about the school. The timeline can be tacked to the wall, and card tables can be set along timeline. On the tables, place trophies won, yearbooks, and other large items for viewing. Be sure to place the items at the appropriate spots along the tables to line up with the corresponding year. For centerpieces on each table, display framed class photos and yearbooks from all the years of the school, which will get former staff and students talking, laughing, and reminiscing.
Guests of Honor
Invite the original faculty and staff of the school as the honored guests of the evening. Their hard work and determination in the early years of the school are what made it a success. They should be seated at a special head table. The current school principal should introduce each of the original staff members and give a short biography of the person, including years with the school, what subjects they taught, and what they have done since leaving the school. Any of the original staff members who still work at the school should be awarded with a recognition plaque and a thank you gift for all their years of service.
Another wall of the party room can be used to highlight the achievements of former students. The wall can be labeled, "What We've Been Up To!" List colleges that graduates of the school have attended, the types of degrees graduates have earned, and interesting jobs students have held, as well as a list of all students who joined the military. If any current teachers are graduates of the school, make special note of that. Many private schools have a religious orientation, and if your school does, you can list countries that students have visited for charity work or missions trips. Do some research and find out if any graduates married other graduates of the school. Put up photos of those couples and their children. If there are any second-generation students attending the school, add their pictures to the wall as well.
A moment of silence should be held for any former students or staff members who have passed away during the course of the school's history. The principal or one of the honored guests can name those that have been lost with a brief biography of that person and then all of the guests can take a moment to reflect. Families of any students that have passed away should be invited to the festivities and told ahead of time that their loved one will be honored.
While guests eat their dinner, entertain them with video footage of events throughout the school's history. This will take some time to put together. Several months before the party, begin digging through the school's video archives for footage from Christmas programs, graduations, and more. Ask students, parents, and staff to look through their own videos for anything they have available. If you have any graduates who are knowledgeable about digital editing, enlist their help to put together a montage of clips from the past 25 years. If you or a former student cannot put it together, you can hire a video editing service to put it together for you. Current and former students alike will enjoy watching this during the dinner.
- Photo Credit Back to school! image by Alexey Klementiev from Fotolia.com
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