Part III of “Graduation 2010,” a three-part series.

DiplomaThis spring, Pomp and Circumstance will play thousands of times across the United States as proud parents smile, camera bulbs flash, and elated graduates take part in commencement processionals. A little advance planning may help you think through what to bring along on the big day. Following are ten ideas you may want to consider:

1. Bring a camera or video camera. While you don’t want to disrupt the proceedings, the graduate will likely appreciate you capturing memorable moments.

2. Bring Kleenex. If you don’t need to use it, it may be helpful to someone sitting nearby.

3. Bring a water bottle. Or three. Depending on how many speeches and graduates there are, commencement exercises can sometimes be lengthy. Having water on-hand is never a bad idea.

4. Bring almonds or another portable snack for yourself or others in your party (especially if you have young children in tow).

5. Bring flowers for the graduate. You don’t have to buy out the local florist. A few tasteful roses, gerbera daisies, or sunflowers are the perfect thoughtful touch.

6. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you head to the graduation ceremony. You’ll want to be helpful with making calls (if needed) throughout the day.

7. Consider saving the program and giving it to the graduate’s parents for their scrapbook.

8. Listen intently to the graduation speaker and jot down a few notes that capture the essence of their message. Later, type or hand-write these notes on an attractive piece of paper that you frame and give to the graduate as a reminder of their special day.

9. If the graduate is not your child, consider offering to fill the role of “helper” – but don’t be intrusive! If appropriate, volunteer to drive back to the graduate’s house for a forgotten mortarboard and tassel. Be the first to give up your seat for grandma. Offer to stand for the duration of the ceremony so you can capture some Kodak moments. Jump in wherever assistance is welcome and needed.

10. Keep in mind that this milestone celebrates the graduate and their accomplishments, the graduate’s family, and the next chapter in the graduate’s life. Identify how you can best contribute to the joy-filled moments of this meaningful day and act accordingly.

And now, let’s stand and welcome our graduates!

* Photo by marygober