Most cities and counties elect to hold a separate graduation ceremony for their programs during a regularly scheduled meeting of the organization’s elected board. Raleigh, NC, for instance, holds a separate session in council chambers with participants dressed in caps and gowns (shown below). Most programs encourage family members and friends to attend, and some ask a class speaker, as well as the mayor or a county commissioner, to make remarks.

Graduation in Raleigh
Participants from Raleigh, NC, Neighborhood College graduate at city hall in cap and gown

Nearly all surveyed programs provide food at the graduation ceremony, even if they do not normally do so at regular sessions. Many have this event catered. While all academies give out some type of certificate, more expensive diplomas or plaques are less common. Volusia County, FL, eliminated plaques as a way to cut the program budget but retain the academy itself.

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