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End of the Year Award Party for Students

Low-cost end-of-the-school-year class party ideas for teachers, including a student award ceremony with student award certificates and a donut banquet. Fun and inexpensive celebration.


Planning a fun end-of-the-year party for students doesn’t have to be a pain. And it doesn’t have to be expensive.

I’m known for being a tight-wad, but my students don’t know. They wanted something different, so they were thrilled to finally settle on a Donut Banquet.

We had a Donut Party!

(My students named it “Do-nut Fear! Donuts are HERE!” That’s what they kept repeating and laughing hysterically. Whatever that means, right??)

end of the year student award party with donuts!

Pin for always!

I ordered donuts from two different bakeries and asked for an assortment. I told them I’m willing to pay extra for the “special” pastries and muffins.

HINT:  Save your money!

Honestly, the fancy pastries weren’t the first to go – they looked pretty but didn’t appeal to my students who wanted donuts with LOTS OF SPRINKLES!

We topped off the banquet with orange juice, apple juice, and 99¢ a gallon tropical punch.

end of the year donut banquet award ceremony plate of donuts

Next, while eating the yummy donuts, we watched a slide show of class photos. I take many student pictures during the year and use them as a slide show on my computer’s screen saver. Students absolutely LOVE watching it.

I had updated it the week before, so there were tons of pictures that students hadn’t yet seen.


We reminisced about two students who moved away and remembered when a new student moved in and joined us.

Of course, their favorite pictures were the goofy shots, but they enjoyed remembering and reliving holidays, field trips, projects, fun stuff, and the simple photos of themselves hard at work. The surprise recess action shots were a HUGE sensation.

Finally, we had a small award ceremony. Nothing fancy at all, but I wanted to honor the hard work, effort, and special sparkle in every one of my students.
FREE printable paper Star Student badge for student awards
I called each of their names to give them star student MVP (Most Valuable Person) award certificates and paper badges. I also shared a special moment when each student made me proud or overcame an obstacle with hard work.

We then discussed, debated, and voted on some favorite class moments. Some of the special moments included:

  • Favorite Lesson
  • Funniest Moment
  • Lesson They’d Most Like to Skip (Boy, was that a hot topic!)
  • Favorite Book
  • Biggest Laugh
  • Favorite Project

And then, I let students each tell a favorite moment they’ll always remember.

Students decorated their own student award certificates and had fun taping them to their lockers and their shirts. They wore the badges for the rest of the day.

FREE certificates and badges for end of the school year student awards

Overall, the Donut Banquet was a hit!

How to Plan for your own  Donut Banquet

The big idea here is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t feel like you have to have a Pinterest Perfect Party.

1. Order donuts ahead of time

Decide if you want an assortment (with students possibly arguing over donuts types) or if you want all the same (no student arguing, but someone is sure to ask where the “good ones” are . . .)

2. Print and prepare the student award certificates

You can grab my freebie by signing up on the form below.


You’ll receive two different student award certificates (Star Student or MVP-Most Valuable Person), and you can choose if you want to have students color in their own pictures or if you want a regular $100 bill. You’ll also receive two badge designs (Star Student or MVP).

3. Decide what to say about students ahead of time

Don’t overthink this. Remember special moments – times of pride when they met a goal, instances of challenge, those moments when they wanted to give up or felt frustrated – but overcame it and succeeded. Think about the moments that required effort on their part. That’s what I focused on for the student awards because (in my opinion) those are the traits that need to be recognized and celebrated, not “cleanest desk” or “nicest hair.”

Jot those ideas down on paper so you aren’t unprepared at award time.

4. Prepare your slide show

Grab all the class photos you took throughout the year and spend a few minutes dumping all those pictures into a “Class” file on your computer. You can then set the screensaver to “Slide Show” and have it pull the photos from that file. Believe me, your class will LOVE IT!

If you get stuck on how to do it, search on Google. The directions are a bit different depending on your computer type and which version of the operating system (my school still uses Windows 10).

5. Jot down a list of Favorite Moments

You may want students to vote on some favorite school and classroom memories. Make a list and include ideas like the ones I listed above. My list was fairly short because I wanted enough time for each student to share their own stand-out memories.

Want your FREE Star Student and MVP Awards?

One Final Thought

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