Phillips Exeter Academy Graduation 2020

PHILLIPS EXETER ACADEMY

300 students come together to make graduation history.


Project

Web design, Copywriting, Design, Social Media, SEO

Client

Phillips Exeter Academy is a highly selective, coeducational independent school for boardingand day students. Located in Exeter, New Hampshire, it is one of the oldest secondary schools in the United States. Due to the sudden effects of COVID-19, an in-person graduation in 2020 wasnot an option. PEA came to Saltwater with a challenge: create an interactive digital experience to celebrate their seniors and include all the facetsof a typical graduation.

Challenge

PEA challenged Saltwater to create a place on their website for their 2020 graduation to digitally take place. We needed to build the same anticipation leading up to the ceremony that students wouldhave experience on campus, and so we developeda phased approach. The graduation page would endup having a pre-ceremony countdown, which unveiled a full interactive graduation ceremony that was live for 24 hours, before shifting into an archive modefor posterity.

So what was our objective?

Do something that hadn’t been done before:

host a graduation ceremony digitally in a way that was immersive for students and their families, and enable them to enjoy it from around the world.

personToCompScreen

HOW IT ALL WENT DOWN

  • 3.14
    MARCH 16, 2020

    Schools in New Hampshire send students home due to COVID-19

  • 4.23
    APRIL 23, 2020

    PEA reaches out to Saltwater about the possibility of a digital graduation

  • 5.7
    MAY 7, 2020

    Saltwater presents the first round of concepts

  • 5.21
    MAY 21, 2020

    Final direction is decided on by Phillips Exeter Academ

  • 6.3
    JUNE 3, 2020

    Schools in New Hampshire send students home due to COVID-19

  • 6.7
    JUNE 7, 2020

    The Stage is live and the Build Up phase starts

PHASE 1: THE BUILD UP

WHEN IT WAS LIVE
The days leading up to graduation.

PURPOSE
To get family, friends, and students excited for the upcoming ceremony.

KEY ASSETS
The Stage
Class of ‘20 Gallery
Year in Review News Stories from Student Newspaper

PHASE 2: THE CEREMONY

WHEN IT WAS LIVE
Graduation Day: June 7, 2020

PURPOSE
A place to watch the ceremony & live tweet with fellow students.

KEY ASSETS
Graduation Ceremony Downloadable Program Integrated Social Media Shout-Outs</

PHASE 3: ARCHIVE

WHEN IT WAS LIVE
After graduation

PURPOSE
A place to re-watch the ceremony video, & other content from the graduation.

KEY ASSETS
Graduation Video
Messages to Seniors from Family and Friends.
Stand Alone Addresses from Principal and Class President

client testimonial

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had a short amount of time to re-create a traditional, on-campus event for our graduates online. Doing so in a manner that fully honored the class and their achievements was the challenge. We went to our partners at Saltwater looking for ideas, inspiration and the ability to build a virtual experience quickly. They embraced the challenge and fully supported us from concept to site launch, with energy and a willingness to do what it would take to make it a special event for our senior class. The result was a microsite that delivered what we needed and helped to connect hundreds of family members to an authentic, first-of-its-kind online graduation ceremony at Exeter.”

- Karen Ingraham, Deputy Director and Editor, Communications

Tell us about your project.

Specifics, hopes, dreams... anything will do. Let's start the conversation and see where we land!