Aside from first dates, prom, and getting a driver’s license,
graduating high school is one of the biggest milestones in a teen's life. And since it is such a common milestone, it’s no big surprise that popular television shows have highlighted high school graduation in episodes.
From embarrassing family moments to cruise ship commencements graduating is always a bittersweet and celebratory moment for everyone involved. It's one step closer to adulthood and living out your dreams! Graduating could leave you nostalgic and reflecting on the past years, both good and bad. And it may sound cliché and lame to a teen right now, but if you’re reading this... you
will miss high school and your teachers one day.
But no matter the different scenarios each student has, the big hurrah always ends the same way — tassels tossed and caps thrown up the air! So while you prepare for your kids’ own commencement ceremonies and get the party invites together, go ahead and take a look a look at our favorite grad episodes from a few family-friendly sitcoms we enjoy.
Grown-ish: “ Empire State of Mind”
Watch out world! After an eventful four years at the California University of Liberal Arts, Zoey, portrayed by Yara Shahidi, is finally ready to walk across the stage and graduate in the Season 4 finale titled “Empire State of Mind.” Zoey and her friends “come together to celebrate their four years together and toast to their post-graduation plans,” including Zoey’s plans to move to the Big Apple with Luca. The episode also unites the original Johnson family, first seen in
Black-ish, which includes dad, Dre (Anthony Anderson), mom Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), her two brothers, Andre (Marcus Scribner), Jack (Miles Brown), and her little sister Diane (Marsai Martin). It’s a touching episode that reminds us that all good things must come to an end for GREATER things to enter the picture. Watch Grown-ish on Hulu. Suite Life on Deck: “ Graduation on Deck”
Wouldn’t be cool to graduate on a cruise ship? In the Season 3 episode, “Graduation on Deck,” Zack and Cody Martin (played by Dylan and Cody Sprouse) graduate from Seven Seas High School with their friends, London, Bailey, Woody, Maya, and Addison. The episode is all about wrapping up loose ends like Zack breaking up with Maya (which flips when she does it first). Zack
prepared a short speech for his sendoff and said, “Congratulations to the senior class, high school, you can kiss my...,” he didn’t finish because Miss. Tutweiller stops him for obvious reasons. Suite life on Deck is a spinoff to The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. The finale episode is bittersweet for Zack and Cody fans who watch the boys from the original series. Watch The Suite Life on Deck’ on Disney+. Wizards of Waverly Place: “ Delinquent Justin”
Some evil twin business going on in the Season 3, Episode 21, titled “Delinquent Justin.” In the 2017 premiere, Justin is getting ready to graduate high school, which is great and all. Except, it seems an alternative version of him has already been there, done that... four years ago! Needless to say, it’s a lot of magical chaos when it's two of you to deal with. Turns out, his friend Alex is the one who made a duplicate Justin and sent him to college four years ago. But the college Justin is not really into making good grades and studying. Alex fuses the two into one being, but the college Justin's mind takes over Justin's body.
Watch Wizards of Waverly Place on Disney+. Modern Family: “ See You Next Fall”
A heartwarming comedy about middle school graduation (yes they have those too!). In Season 2’s “See You Next Fall,” the family is preparing for Alex's middle-school graduation. Alex is the valedictorian (thanks to a robot who attacked the kid who built it but that’s another story) She has plans to deliver an angry, more truth-telling graduation speech about her classmates treating her like she was invisible, even though she admitted to focusing more on her grades and less on looks and popularity. Her sister Haley tries to convince her to take a more positive route and suggests using song lyrics. The two share a love-hate relationship, but in the end, Haley wants the best for her little sister. “You know what? Give your stupid little speech, be an outcast,” she tells her in a final attempt to change her mind. “But you're only doing it to yourself, because you're smart, pretty, and sort of funny in a way that I don't really get but other people seem to enjoy. You can either start fresh next year or be the freak who flipped off her class.” In the end, Alex takes Haley’s advice and gets a standing ovation.
Watch Modern Family on Hulu. Glee: “ Goodbye”
Students at McKinley High had a songfest going away for their final high school hurrah. Season 3, Episode 22 is more about preparing to say goodbye than the actual ceremony. Nonetheless, like most
Glee episodes, it’s full of music. Eight members of New Directions are preparing to walk across that stage. Some have already been accepted into their schools of choice. But there are others who are still waiting to see where their future will take them. Will has assigned the seniors a project to perform songs for each other to say goodbye. Songs such as a rendition of The Jackson 5’s “ Never Can Say Goodbye,” Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young,” “Single Ladies,” “You Get What You Give,” and Room for Two’s “Roots Before Branches,” captured the glee club perfectly on this special moment (not to mention, Michael’s song, “The Quarterback’ to Finn is a real tearjerker). Watch Glee on Apple TV. Switched At Birth: “ And Life Begins Right Away”
In the Season 3 finale, Daphne Vasquez (Katie LeClerc) and Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) are finally graduating. But there’s a cloud over the day because Daphne is distracted by the impending hearing over her parole violation and Bay’s post-high school plans don’t get the bad reactions from their parents. This is a great episode to remind parents that we have to let our kids choose their own paths and we won’t agree with some of them. But the hope is that they do not stray too far.
Watch the Switched At Birth on Freeform.
Grown-ish to Glee, there are plenty of ways to celebrate your class of 2022 graduate, at least get some ideas from TV!