CYM Blog A Digital Celebration of the Senior Class by Life Teen GOAL The goal of this Life Night is to honor the graduating senior class and foster a more profound sense of community within the youth group using a digital platform. KEY CONCEPTS Even during a global pandemic, it is still OK to celebrate the accomplishments of others. We can lift up one another through recognition and prayer. God is proud of our achievements and calls us to invite Him into every part of our lives. SCRIPTURE Matthew 18:20, 25:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:24-25 CATECHISM 1879-1881, 2212 ABOUT THIS LIFE NIGHT The Gather is a fun and silly awards ceremony hosted by a core member. The Proclaim and Break gives the floor to other members of the youth group to recognize the accomplishments of each senior. The Send is a group prayer that acts as a spiritual send-off for the graduating class and allows the seniors to experience their front yard surprise. ENVIRONMENT Prior to the Life Night, coordinate with core members and parents to have pizza dropped off at every senior’s house. After the food is dropped off, have them wait a few moments and then decorate the yard or front door of the house. Include confetti, balloons, and streamers that say, “Congrats Grad.” At the center of the decorations place a small fishbowl filled with handwritten, encouraging notes from all the members of the youth group, including the core members, teen leaders, underclassmen, priests, and music minister. MEDIA SUGGESTIONS lifeteen: “LT – Gather Music” (spotify:user:lifeteen) AS YOU GET STARTED As a follow up the Life Night, coordinate with core members and parents to plan a car procession for each senior. Invite the families of the youth group to create signs of congratulations honoring the teen’s accomplishments. HISPANIC INCULTURATION By Stephanie Espinoza Cultural Insights Be aware that the loss of a traditional graduation ceremony might be felt differently by Hispanic/Latino teens who are first in their families to be enrolling at a college or university in the fall. If you know this to be the case for some of your teens, consider giving them extra encouragement through the loss of this milestone moment during the Send by naming those first-generation seniors and offering their transition into uncharted waters to the will of God. Say something like, “Lord we are so proud of (teen names) for their accomplishments and the way they continue to pave new paths for themselves and their families. We ask that you remain close to them as they navigate the new terrain of college as first-generation students.” Important Notes for Pastoral Care Because this Digital Senior Night requires extensive collaboration with parents, be sure to have bilingual core members or members of your parish community available to help reach out with instructions about the environment, pizza delivery, and slide show for Spanish-speaking parents. GATHER Welcome and Opening Prayer (5 min) Welcome the teens to the Life Night, introduce any teens or core members who are attending for the first time, and begin in prayer. Silly Awards Ceremony (20 min) While the teens are feasting, have a charismatic core member be the host of a silly awards show. In advance, come up with a silly award that is unique to every graduating senior (e.g., The Next Pope Award, The Motivational Speaker Award, Jim Halpert Award for Best Prankster, The Eggshell Award for being able to crack people up). Be sure to add in numerous awards specific to the youth group and community. PROCLAIM AND BREAK Senior Slideshow (30 min) Prior to the Life Night, create a slideshow with a slide for each senior and share the screen with the group. On each slide, include the most recent photo of the teen, a group photo from the youth group that includes the senior, and one of their baby pictures (reach out to parents in advance or find them on social media). Pair a core member, teen leader, or underclassmen with each senior and have each give a 1-2 minute testimony of the senior’s character and future plans after high school. Repeat this process until all of the seniors are recognized. SEND Sendoff Prayer and Yard Reveal (20 min) Have the youth minister invite all to extend their hands and pray for all of the seniors. Include reference to how proud God is of this incredible accomplishment and how He will continue to move in their lives. Invite those who spoke during the Proclaim to add in any additional intentions they have about their specific senior. If possible, have the parish priest join the call and give a special blessing to the teens. After delivering any further announcements for the summer schedule, have each of the seniors go out to their front lawn to see their surprise. If possible, have parents record the seniors’ reactions and upload them to the youth group’s Instagram.