Pictured is a fictitious example of a Mercer Island Grad Gram. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island PTA Council

Pictured is a fictitious example of a Mercer Island Grad Gram. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island PTA Council

Grad Grams celebrate students and fund Community Scholarship

Gifts are currently on sale for elementary, junior high and high school grads.

The tradition continues.

For the last 40 years, the Mercer Island community has banded together to recognize the school district’s fifth-, eighth- and 12th-grade graduates. It’s that time of the year again when family, friends and businesses send Grad Grams to the students who have completed a pivotal academic chapter of their lives.

Priced at $6 a piece, Grad Grams sales support the Mercer Island Community Scholarship, which is administered by the Mercer Island PTA Council and honors 27 graduating Mercer Island High School (MIHS) seniors “who demonstrate leadership, resiliency, and passion for learning, and are positive contributors to both their classroom and community,” according to Stephanie Parmenter and Amy Richter, who are helming the Grad Gram-Community Scholarship programs.

Grad Grams are printed on parchment paper, will be delivered by mail and senders can personalize the grams with a 200-character message to graduates. To purchase Grad Grams, visit https://miptacouncil.org/programs/grad-gram/. Orders will be accepted through June 16; order by May 28 to ensure the gift’s arrival before the MIHS graduation on June 10.

Grad Grams can also be sent to private school students on the Island or in neighboring communities.

Parmenter and Richter said it’s vital to continue the Grad Gram tradition because it demonstrates how the community values recognizing its students. The PTA Council collaborates with the MIHS PTSA and MIHS administration and staff on the program, which is funded by residents, businesses and organizations. From volunteers to donors to the community, everyone wants to have a hand in celebrating the graduates, they said.

According to a press release, the scholarships are funded entirely by the purchase of Grad Grams and direct donations to the Mercer Island Community Scholarship Program. The directors hope to reach the 2,500 mark for Grad Gram sales with each MIHS graduate receiving at least one Grad Gram.

It’s been an unprecedented year amid the pandemic for students, Parmenter and Richter said, and “sending a Grad Gram to one’s special student is a way to send a virtual hug or pat on the back.”

The scholarships are especially meaningful because they highlight the students’ growth and the support from the community as well.

“It is the reminder that the little things make the big things happen,” the duo said.

For more information, visit https://miptacouncil.org/.

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