By Carla Olivo, PCSgrades Director of Strategic Communications

Ugh! A military move! The months of May and June are the height of PCS season. Drive through any neighborhood near a military installation and you might see multiple moving vans, front lawns strewn with packing materials, or boxes lining the sidewalk.

Enjoy the Pomp even during a Military Move!

May and June are also the months for many special occasions; weddings, end of the year sports banquets, concerts, plays, recitals and of course, the big one, graduation. We’ve had many friends who, in the middle of having their house packed out, had to attend a dance recital or soccer picnic. Military kids are known for their resilience but these end of the year moments are still important to them. And it’s common for military families everywhere to set aside the packing tape and gussy themselves up to attend these special occasions. One of the hardest to work around is the high school graduation.

Most military brats have attended multiple schools, even multiple high schools. So the attachment to a school or a set of friends may not necessarily be there. But a high school graduation is so much more than that. It signifies the end of an era, the end of childhood. It is a special time, both for you as a family and your graduate.

Most kids go off to college or the military following high school graduation. So the occasion is marked with a lot of pomp and circumstance. Attending Baccalaureate, the graduation ceremony itself, and the after party is easier said than done in the middle of a military move.

Tips for making graduation special during a military move

#1 One way to help things go smoother is to make arrangements for family and friends to stay at a local hotel, rather than at your soon to be packed up house. Some hotels will offer a special discount rate for groups of 10 or more.  If you are lucky, these guests might stick around to help you with your move!

#2 Instead of hosting a huge party at your house, see if you can join in on a party with friends. Having a friend host takes the festivities out of your home. You can contribute in other ways with providing decorations or food. Another option is hosting a grad party at a local restaurant or other venue.

#3 Is your house is being packed out in the days leading up to graduation? Set aside clothing for the ceremony. Put gifts for your grad along with your other “Do Not Pack” items in a designated room or closet.

Be Flexible

#4 Some people have chosen to hold the celebration early. Hosting a large party in mid-May weeks ahead of a June military move is preferable for some. This allows you to honor your senior but is far enough in advance to not interfere with the PCS.

#5 Another option is holding off on the celebration until the military move is over. Attend the ceremony, pack up, move to your new location. Once things are settled, plan a nice outing later in the summer. Some families have bypassed an immediate celebration. They wait until late summer or winter break to take a family cruise or vacation to commemorate this special event.

Celebrate Achievement!

It may be tempting to push graduation celebrations aside with a military move on the horizon. But to your graduate, this is a huge accomplishment that deserves some recognition. So set aside the packing tape and the boxes. Take pride as your student walks up to the stage to accept that diploma. It’s an achievement that may have been earned at multiple schools in several different states, making it all the more an accomplishment for your graduate.

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Carla Olivo has garnered numerous industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News, Enterprise Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel and their two children. You can follow her on Twitter @olivowriter.

Carla Olivo

Director of Strategic Communications