This picture is from my sweet son Spencer’s senior night for basketball. Time goes by way too fast! As I was making my checklist for my son’s senior night and starting to get things ready, I thought I’d make a checklist for myself and anyone that happens to be put in charge of one of these events. Not all Senior Recognitions have to be for sports, most are, but every senior deserves a night of recognition for something that they’ve been a part of. My youngest daughter’s Senior Recognition was after her last time acting with our youth group at church. Be creative!
You know me, I LOVE my lists! I love checking things off and being organized. Even for an event that’s as simple as a senior recognition, I need a list. I always feel like I’m going to forget something and a list really helps me out. If you’d like to print my list to help you plan an amazing Senior Night Recognition, just click here or on the link at the end of the post. I also have a book with tons more info, also at the end of the post! Back to planning a Senior Night, your teen will love.
Senior Recognition night is usually pretty simple, however, the end of season banquet is where it’s a little more complicated, but that’s another post. Planning the recognition is pretty straightforward. You pick a game night, usually the last game of the season, or a game near the end of the season that you know you will most likely win. Because it’s not a lot of fun to lose on your senior night, but sometimes that just can’t be helped. Work with your Athletic Director and coaches (and board if you have one) to pick the best night. It also helps if it’s a night where both the girl’s and the boy’s teams are both at home so you recognize both at the same time.
Also, consider getting a small team together to help so that you are not doing everything. This could be senior or junior parents, cheerleaders, board members, etc. Divide out the duties of ordering the cake, getting a photographer, choosing an announcer/MC, programs, etc. Don’t forget to ask the seniors what they would like included and their parents.
Next, you need to get some biography information from the seniors and their parents to give background information that you can announce for each senior during his or her recognition and for any programs that you have designed. I suggest sending out a Senior Questionnaire that includes items like how long they’ve played for your team, hobbies, where they plan on going to college, favorite scripture, etc. This is optional, you can always just call each senior’s name, but we liked letting our spectators get to know our seniors.
If the girls and boys teams are playing, I suggest doing the recognition between games. This way you will have the most people there to see the recognition and it gives a nice break between games. It can be as simple or as formal as you like. It’s as easy as having the parents and players line up together and the MC announces each player with their parents as they take center court with their parents. It’s that simple.
Don’t forget to make a fun and memorable night of it! You can decorate the gym, have a cake for the teams, or even get the cheerleaders involved. It’s up to you! We also had a small senior display done by each senior or their parents that showcased pictures, schoolwork, awards, etc. Some years we had special buttons made for the parents that had their senior’s number on them or t-shirts with their numbers. We’ve even done face painting for anyone wanting to come and cheer that senior on. Just make the night fun and all about the seniors!
We usually have balloon bouquets that are about 6 ft tall with 3-5 balloons each on the court where we want the players and their parents to stand after moving from the center court during the recognition. These serve a couple of purposes: first, they let the players and parents know where to stand after they have been recognized and they also help to decorate the gym. They also serve as a nice backdrop for parent/senior pictures. Balloons are an inexpensive way to decorate and they can be taken home by the players.
Our coaches would also give each senior some type of special keepsake as they are presented. Most of the time it would be a signed ball by all the coaches and players of that team. Some people prefer to save this for the end of season banquet so that will be up to the coaches. I’ve even seen seniors give their parents a small bouquet.
We’ve also done game programs that focused on the seniors and they make a great keepsake. These can be printed on a home computer or at a local printer. We typically include individual pictures of each senior with a short biography and then a team photo and we include team photos of all the teams. You can even get sponsors and showcase them in the program to offset the cost of printing.
Planning a Senior Recognition Night isn’t hard, it just takes a little organization and that’s where a checklist can help. Here’s the one that I made, feel free to use it! If you would like more in-depth information about planning a Senior Recognition Night I have made a book that has tons of information, helpful tips, including checklists and a senior questionnaire example! It’s a great way to keep you and your team organized. I love this book! I needed it when I was the one planning Senior Nights! It contains more information than I can post in one blog post. If you would like your copy please click here.