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Graduation FAQ

1. What are the requirements to participate?

HEAV does not have academic (GPA, credits, or courses) or age requirements for participation in the graduation weekend. Consistent with our belief that education is the primary responsibility of parents, we leave this decision in the hands of each family. As long as the graduate has been home educated for a minimum of one year under Virginia law §22.1-254.1 (homeschool statute), §22.1-254(B)(1) (religious exemption), or §22.1-254(A) (certified tutor provision), we invite your family to participate in the Class of 2013. If the participating graduate is from another state, he or she will have to have abided by the laws pertaining to home instruction in that state.


2. What are the costs to participate?

The only required cost is the application fee. If you do not have a royal blue or white cap and gown, you will also be required to purchase one. The costs, as well as the optional items, are thoroughly explained in the online registration form.


3. What does the diploma look like? Does it look “official”?

The diploma was designed especially for HEAV graduates and is printed in rich black ink on parchment. This certificate will be inscribed with the graduate’s name, date of graduation (June 7, 2014), and the name of the graduate’s school or curriculum. It will also include the signatures of the graduate’s parents, the HEAV president, and the commencement speaker. An engraved seal  and gold ribbon corners adorn the diploma, which is encased in a beautiful, padded navy case with matching seal.


4. How do I choose an inscription for my diploma?

For the diploma wording in the section, “Has successfully completed the Course of Study for graduation prescribed by,” you may want to write “his parents,” the name of your school, or the name a correspondence course you used. Please do not use “prescribed by the Commonwealth of Virginia.” The Commonwealth of Virginia does not prescribe a curriculum or course of study for Virginia homeschoolers. It is up to the parents to decide the course of study. This also incorrectly implies the Commonwealth of Virginia has authorized and approved your course of study.


5. Do I have to use the HEAV diploma?

You are not required to purchase a diploma through HEAV. Some families use a diploma from their local support group’s graduation ceremony or simply a computer-generated certificate. If you do not purchase a diploma through HEAV, you are required to bring something that resembles a diploma for the presentation during the ceremony. It should be flat, sturdy, and clearly labeled with your full name. If you bring your own diploma, it must be turned in at check-in.


6. Do the announcements serve as invitations?

No, announcements are not invitations. Announcements are designed to be a formal means of letting your friends and family know of your graduation from high school.


7. What does the announcement look like?


The formal graduation announcement for 2014 reads as follows:

The parents and seniors, along with the
Home Educators Association of Virginia,
are pleased to announce the
Commencement Exercises
for the homeschool graduates of the
Class of Two Thousand Fourteen
on Saturday, the seventh of June
at half past three in the afternoon
Greater Richmond Convention Center
Richmond, Virginia

If you choose to order our announcements, you will receive envelopes with them. Name cards, sold separately, may also be but announcements may be sent with or without name cards.


8. How many guests may I invite to the ceremony?

When you fill out the registration form, you should indicate the number of tickets you need for your family and friends. If you need more than 12 tickets, e-mail and any available tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. The only reserved seating in the ballroom is for graduates and parents; the rest of the seating is general admission, meaning seats are not pre-assigned, but tickets are required. You will receive your tickets at check-in unless you request that they be mailed to you.


9. Do the graduate and his parents need tickets?

The graduate does not need a ticket, but for safety purposes, parents do.


10. May we attend convention workshops and access the Exhibit Hall?

If you would like to attend the convention, you will need to register for that separately. However, graduates and their parents have access to the Exhibit Hall any time with their nametags, received at check-in.


11. Will the graduates have time to eat and change between the rehearsal and the ceremony?

No, graduates should arrive at rehearsal dressed for the ceremony (except for cap and gown), since they will not have a chance to leave between the rehearsal and the ceremony. Parents are dismissed part way through the rehearsal, and are free until 3 p.m., when they are seated in the designated parents’ section.


12. If we have items for sale in the Used Curriculum Sale, will we be able to pick up our unsold items?

No, you will not be able to pick up your unsold items. UCS closes before the graduation ceremony ends. Please make arrangements for someone else to pick up your unsold items.


13. May our guests shop in the Exhibit Hall?

Yes! Family members and friends with a ticket to the graduation ceremony may browse the Exhibit Hall in the adjoining Richmond Center FREE OF CHARGE on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.

Be sure to let your guests know they will be admitted at no cost when they show their graduation ticket. This is a perfect opportunity for grandparents and other family members and friends to see the extensive resources available to homeschool families–they are often amazed at the variety and diversity of educational materials. (It’s also a great place to purchase gifts!)


14. What is the graduate’s bio for?

Biographical sketches must be submitted at the time of registration. Each graduate’s biographical sketch will be printed in the convention program along with his full name and the city and state of his residence. Please write a bio that includes the length of time you have been homeschooled; some of your homeschool activities; some special interests, achievements, and scholarships; and your future plans, if known. If your bio mentions a specific organization you have worked with; award you have received; or school, co-op, or group you have participated in or plan to attend, please be sure to give the complete, correct name of the organization, award, or group. If you mention a favorite Bible verse, it helps to quote it for the reference of the reader. If you do choose to quote a Scripture verse, please specify in parentheses which version of the Bible you have quoted. Example: (KJV). Please do not exceed 100 words. If the bio exceeds 100 words, HEAV reserves the right to edit as necessary or to send it back for revision.


15. What is the graduate’s photo for?

Just prior to the graduation ceremony, we will have a photo presentation of all the graduates from whom we receive photos. Please consider sharing a favorite photo of your graduate (in JPEG format). It could be a picture of your graduate acting in a favorite theatrical presentation, exhibiting a prize-winning science project, or reading on the sofa in the living room at age six. We suggest that you use a photo without too many other people  than the graduate, and that shows more of the graduate and less background. Please choose a photo that will honor your graduate on this special occasion. If we receive a photo that could be considered inappropriate, HEAV reserves the right to crop the photo or refuse it.


16. Where do we get caps and gowns?

Caps, gowns, and tassels will be sold on-site for a discounted price. If you must have yours ahead of time, please e-mail for additional information.


17. How much do senior portraits and diploma exchange photos cost?

There will be a $10 sitting fee for senior portraits. Click HERE for additional pricing information.


18. I am not familiar with the proper etiquette for the ceremony, or for addressing and sending graduation invitations or thank-you notes for our graduate’s gifts. Can you offer any help?

Yes! We have put together a Graduation Etiquette Guide (621) just for you!


19. We are looking at future plans, including college, for this graduate or another child; do you have any resources to guide our search?

The HEAV office has packets from the Christian Connector, Inc., which contain information on Christian colleges, Bible colleges, short-term missions, and other Christian youth opportunities. Please contact the office at or 804-278-9200. Be sure to provide your mailing address. We will be happy to fill your request.

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