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Graduation gift: School picture surprise

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This year’s graduates are counting the days until commencement, when they receive their hard-earned diplomas and celebrate with festive parties.

Here’s a creative and thrifty gift idea to honor the graduate and celebrate his or her many years of schooling.

This gift is ideal for the high school graduate, but it will also suit the junior high grad or even a graduate celebrating a higher degree.

The first step is to collect the graduate’s entire history of school portraits. Of course, this may be a fairly simple endeavor for a parent or grandparent, who has likely received these photographs annually.

Next, scan the photos, if you wish to keep your own prints. Or, simply shoot photos of them with a smart phone or digital camera.

Once the images are on your computer, and you have placed them in order (by year), you can pick any of these options to make your school picture surprise gift for your favorite graduate.

Be crafty.

Print out the series of school photos, and stick them in a suitable small photo album. Pocket-sized picture books may be found in card and gift shops or even dollar stores. If you are handy, you might even make your own little photo book.

Label each photo page with the school grade and year.

Go digital.

Are you clever with computer graphics? Why not create an attractive photo book, including the portraits from each year of the graduate’s schooling to-date? Add page titles or captions.

Start a slideshow.

Here’s one more fun memento for the graduate. Collect all of his or her school portraits in a computer slideshow (with slide titles and captions). Store the slideshow file on a disc or thumb drive for graduation gift-giving. Or put it in a private spot online, and write the site address and password in the commencement card.

The school picture surprise gift makes a nice accompaniment to a thoughtful graduation card, with or without a little something extra (such as cash, a check, or a gift card) tucked inside.

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