Seniors' send off


Throwing a graduation party? These chocolate graduation caps made with store-bought brownie bites and chocolate-covered graham crackers are easy to assemble.

Throwing a graduation party? These chocolate graduation caps made with store-bought brownie bites and chocolate-covered graham crackers are easy to assemble. Photo by:


Jan Swoope



Surely it was only a month or two ago that students went back to class after Christmas. Or so it seems to me. But no, graduations are upon us. Mississippi State's seniors received diplomas this past weekend and soon area high schools -- and The W -- will send their newly-minted graduates out into the world. So, it's party time -- a final send-off to honor graduates at one of the most exciting junctures in a young life. There are many ways to make it special; here are just a few to consider. 


Most graduation celebrations are casual, fun and spirited. Balloons in school colors set that festive mood as soon as guests arrive -- maybe even a balloon arch. Go the extra step by stenciling a school logo on the lawn, or display a life-sized standup made from a photo of the honoree, suggests 


Make a looping video to run during the party by pulling together photos set to music. Intermix videos of the graduate when he or she was growing up, and with classmates at ball games, dances or on school trips. 


Make a photo "wreath" with a timeline of pictures of the honoree from childhood to senior year mounted on a wire frame. Or leave out an enlarged photo of the graduate with ample matting around it for guests to sign, an updated version of the guestbook. 


Plan a photo booth by gathering props like graduation caps and diplomas, school pom-poms and the like.  


At the party, consider designating someone to get photographs with your camera or phone. If you're hosting, you'll probably get too busy to capture all the shots you want. 


Guests will likely arrive with cards or wrapped gifts for the graduate; provide a convenient, safe place close to the entrance for those, reminds us. Set up a "wisdom jar" and slips of paper and pens for friends and family to write a few words of advice for the new grad. 


It goes without saying that there should be music, but unless it's a dance, keep it in the background.  


Assuming the party is mingling and moving (not a sit-down dinner), keep foods convenient and replenished. Think finger foods like sliders, taco bites, potato skins. How about tortilla "diplomas"? Just turn your favorite pinwheel recipe into a graduation party food. See a recipe from below. You'll also find a couple of pick-up sweets that complement the theme.  


Yes, May is a time for celebrating the graduates among us. Even if you don't know one personally, wish them all well. They will be shaping the future soon enough. 






Makes 40  




40 fajita sized flour tortillas 


4 each 8-ounce packages of softened cream cheese 


4 each 8-ounce packages of beef, diced 


2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 


3 bunches green onion, chopped small 


Desired seasoning  




n Mix all ingredients, except tortillas, together to make filling, or use your favorite pinwheel filling recipe. 


n Spread desired amount of filling onto each tortilla, just as if you were making pinwheels. 


n Roll up just as if you were making pinwheels. Do not cut. 


n Tie a 6-8 inch length of colored ribbon (that matches school colors) around the middle of the rolled tortilla to look like a diploma. 










Store-bought round brownie bites (or bake in a mini muffin tin) 


Chocolate covered graham crackers 


1 tub thick chocolate frosting 


Licorice, in school colors 


Small chocolate candies in school colors  


Decorative icing in color of choice 


n To assemble, first top each brownie bite with a thin layer of chocolate frosting. Then place a chocolate covered graham cracker on top. 


n Slice licorice twists into 3-inch pieces with a sharp knife (or clean scissors) so the top forms a point. Use fingers to twist each candy piece to make it look like a tassel. 


n Place a dollop of decorative icing on the top and then add the chocolate candy. Allow to dry for a few minutes. 


n Next, add the licorice tassel. (This part is probably the trickiest because you're got to work the candy a bit with your fingers to get it to lay over. If licorice is too hard to manage, try microwaving it a few seconds to soften up. An alternative is belt candy, like Airheads.) 










Double Stuf Oreos 


Wilton candy melts in school colors 


Sprinkles in school colors 


Lollipop sticks 




n Remove top of cookie. Melt chocolate candy melts. Place a dab on the cream filling of the cookie and gently press a lollipop stick into it. Top with the other half of the cookie. Allow to set up. 


n Gently dip into melted chocolate, covering all sides. Add sprinkles. Place on parchment paper or wax paper and allow to harden. 


(Source:, LeighAnne Wilkes)


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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