Celebrating our schools – acknowledging anniversary years

Celebrating our schools – acknowledging anniversary years

By Yvette Graniero

Director of Community Relations, Santa Sabina College

As we emerge from the restrictions COVID has placed on us, we will need to find ways to reconnect and re-engage with our school communities. A wonderful way to do this is through celebrating school anniversaries. These opportunities allow us to commemorate the heritage, traditions and success of our schools. 

We can achieve this through a range of events, selling merchandise and participating in special initiatives to engage the entire community—both past and present—including staff, students and parents.  

Key outcomes that can be achieved during anniversary years include:

  • Strengthening community spirit by celebrating the school’s past, present and future.
  • Increasing the number of ex-students who participate in the school.
  • Raising the profile of the school and its programs within the wider community.
  • Strengthening the brand and enrolment interest.
  • Aligning fundraising efforts.

The planning phase for an anniversary year can be upward of two years and during this time it is important to do the following:

  • Background Analysis—what you hope to achieve.
  • Discussions with key stakeholders—to determine outcomes and objectives for the yea
  • Form committee including current and past staff, Board and Council members, engaged alumni, students and parents. 
  • Determine action plan and milestones.
  • Determine budget.
  • Develop Branding.

Here are ways in which you can celebrate and recognise your school’s anniversary year.


A wonderful way to ensure a consistent brand experience is to ensure all collateral associated with the anniversary year is the same. An anniversary logo can be used on email signatures, stationery, electronic and print publications, invitations, digital and social media, video opening and closing title slides, site banners and flags.

Social media

As we know, social media is a great way to engage our stakeholders and during an anniversary year the following can happen:

  • Anniversary features for digital and social media including ‘on this day in history’ and ‘then and now’ photos as examples of social media campaigns.
  • Include social media hashtags that are particular to the anniversary year.

Types of events

Different events can be pitched at different stakeholders including current parents and students, past students and staff, board members and community members:

  • Gala dinners
  • Fetes
  • Reunions and re-enactments
  • Back to school weekends
  • Religious ceremonies
  • Gala Music Concerts
  • Art shows
  • Sporting events

Special Initiatives

Some school communities decide to acknowledge a significant anniversary milestone by celebrating in the following ways:

  • Anniversary photos (numbers or student groups)
  • Historical installations—timelines, museum
  • Commissioned works—music, art, sculpture
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Capital works projects—fundraising initiatives
  • Tree planting


During an anniversary year, community members are particularly proud and often want to show this through purchasing school memorabilia. These can include

  • Jerseys
  • History of the school book
  • Badges or pins
  • Hats
  • Keyrings

A school anniversary gives us an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the history of our school and giving thanks to those that have gone before us, while generating pride in the current and future members of the community.