Celebrating The Class Of 2021


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MINT HILL, NC – Let’s face it: this year’s high school seniors have gotten a pretty raw deal.  Most teens have spent the majority of the year at home, separated from their friends and unable to participate in the extracurricular activities and sports that have defined their high school careers.  Many won’t get to celebrate milestones they’ve looked forward to for their entire school career in the way they envisioned.  They may be uncertain about what next year will bring.

If anyone deserves a fabulous graduation celebration, it’s these kids.  Lucky for you, there are many unique gift and party options available locally to celebrate the Class of 2021.



Loosened COVID restrictions combined with increased opportunities for vaccination make an in-person graduation celebration a real possibility this year.  If your party planning skills are rusty after a year of social distancing, consider letting your favorite local restaurant do some of the work for you.  You may be surprised to find that they offer catering options for gatherings of all sizes.

Catering options from Wayback Burgers
Catering options from Wayback Burgers

Wayback Burgers owned by Mint Hill local Anna White offers a “Burger and Sandwich Bar” featuring choices from both their signature and traditional menu items.  You can even mix and match to create your own variety pack!  “Sauce it up” with a signature sauce platter, and add in chicken tenders and tater tots to round out your meal.  Catering packages that serve ten starts at just $55.  “Burgers are a great choice for a graduation party because they’re a classic comfort food that brings people together!” says White.  To discuss catering options, call Wayback Burgers at (980) 237-0140.

Whether you’re hosting an in-person celebration or sticking with a “drive-by,” a yard sign is a great way to show pride in your graduate!  Yard Love Greetings of Mint Hill and Matthews creates personalized yard signs for all occasions.  “Birthdays, baby showers, graduation, cancer battles, Veteran’s Day – you name the occasion, and we can personalize a sign to help you celebrate or commemorate the event,” says Mint Hill and Matthews Yard Love Greetings Affiliate Stephanie Dixon.

Class of 2020 yard sign by Yard Love Greetings
Class of 2020 yard sign by Yard Love Greetings

“Ordering a Yard Love Greeting Sign for graduation would be a wonderful and safe way to celebrate your family,” continues Dixon.  “Let that special person graduating this May or June know how much you love them and how proud you are of their accomplishments. Create a special drive-by graduation celebration, and make memories that will last a lifetime. It’s fun, safe, and allows family and friends to share in the special moments of our lives.”  To learn more about options and pricing, contact Stephanie Dixon at (704) 794-2111 or yardloveminthillmatthews@gmail.com.

You’ll surely recognize Michael Neddo’s name from Lowe-Neddo Funeral Home, but what you may not know is that the Neddo family offers other services that help commemorate all the special events in your life.  Popular this time of year are memory blankets.  These loom-woven 4×6 blankets feature a reproduction of a photo, are fully customizable, and can even include licensed images and logos from several colleges.

Memory blanket by Lowe-Neddo
Memory blanket by Lowe-Neddo

“It’s a great gift for a graduate because it’s personal,” says Neddo.  “You can lay it on a bed, hang it on a wall, or throw it on a chair.  But I think the biggest thing is that it’s the best way to send you with somebody.  We’re not talking about a picture on a phone but something tangible you can hold.”

Also popular for graduates are Lowe-Neddo’s video compilations, which they craft from photos and videos from throughout a graduate’s life or high school career.  “At Lowe-Neddo, we’re all about helping people celebrate all of life’s events.  Memory blankets and videos are two ways we can honor our graduates!”  For more information, call Michael Neddo at (704) 681-0294

Senior portrait by Sandy Harrison
Senior portrait by Sandy Harrison

This year’s seniors have missed out on a huge number of picture-worthy milestones.  Sandy Harrison of Photographic Elegance can help fill your empty photo album with senior portraits that capture what made high school special for your graduate.  “The experience is what makes me different,” says Harrison.  “I strive to capture their personality.  I learn about them and who they are in a pre-photoshoot consultation.  That’s when we make a game plan on what the session will look like.  I offer indoor and outdoor sessions and always encourage them to bring props like sportswear and instruments.”  For more info, contact Sandy Harrison at (704) 598-9099.

Of course, letting the graduate in your life know you care isn’t always all about buying a unique gift.  “The best gift is having your family supporting you during these times,” says Emily Janotha, who graduated from Queen’s Grant High School last year.  “Especially since they might not get an actual ceremony, their families doing something small can go a long way.  My parents threw a small surprise party for me and got me a senior sign. It showed me that they were happy and supporting me. As for family who can’t be present, it would be nice to get a card in the mail from them, maybe a phone call or a FaceTime call.”

And remember, if your graduate is college-bound, there are some things that never go out of style!  “Definitely stuff for college if they’re going!” says Queen’s Grant graduate Emily Ruppe, who recommends basics like command strips and a small first aid kit.  “Shower caddy, shower shoes, hangers –  it seems lame but I was so grateful for any of those gifts I got!  A microwave and/or mini-fridge is a bit more expensive but necessary in my opinion!  Also, just general cutlery and plates/bowls because I literally forgot those until I needed them to eat leftovers!”

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