The graduation of a loved one brings a mixture of emotions -- sadness over the end of an era, joy and, of course, pride. Graduating high school is one of life's milestones, and heartfelt words of congratulations, whether given in person, written on a card or printed in the yearbook, can be a gift that lasts far longer than cash.

From the Parents

Sometimes the parents of the graduate are asked to submit a statement of congratulations to be published in the school yearbook, on a sports program or on the graduation program. Often these have word or character limits, so they must be kept short and sweet. If your child becomes uncomfortable when you express too much emotion, keep it simple, such as: "We could not be more proud of all of your hard work. Congratulations!" For graduates who appreciate a bit more sentiment, try expressing your love: "I am so proud of you. As you head off into life, my support and love will always go with you." You could even write a little poem, if you think your graduate would like something a bit corny: "Roses are red. Violets are blue. You are graduating and we're proud of you!"

Personal Statements

If you've known the graduate for a long time, write something personal in the message of congratulations. Consider what makes the graduate special. Maybe he is the first person in your family to go to college, or maybe he is going to take a year off to travel around the world -- something many dream of but never find the courage to do. Perhaps he earned a full academic scholarship to a prestigious university. Use these things in your message, for example: "You are proof that brains plus hard work equals a bright future! Congratulations!" If your relationship is close, you won't be overstating things if you also include lavish praise: "Niece, we couldn't love you more if you were our own daughter. We are bursting with pride!"

Silly Sayings

Lighten up what is usually a serious affair -- high school graduation -- by crafting a silly statement of congratulations. If your child has a great sense of humor, tickle her funny bone a bit: "Whew. You made it! You had us worried a bit when you took AP Chemistry in 10th grade." Or write something a bit off-the-wall: "Graduates, like sharks, never swim backward. Keep on moving forward and you will succeed!" Get deep and make your teen think twice when you tell her: "Remember, my child, wherever you go in life, there you are. Congratulations!"

Famous Quotes

Quotes are always popular and can become something for the graduate to hold onto -- a life mantra -- as he moves forward into the next phase of life. Dr. Seuss is a common choice: "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who'll decide where to go." You can't go wrong with wordsmith Mark Twain: "Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first." Then finish it up with by writing, "Now go show the world who you are!" If the graduate has a favorite author, try to find a quote by that writer that works well in a message of congratulations.

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