How to Plan a Banquet (for Students and Parents)


There should be at least 3 people principally in charge of the banquet: at least 1 parent or adult responsible for food and dealing with money and 2 students working together who are aware of everything that'll be going on. Having 2 students in charge simultaneously splits the workload, affords them the possibility of surprises at the banquet, and allows things to occur simultaneously (e.g. for the 2017 Banquet, Brandon was the front man and Tim was running the show backstage). There should be at least 1 junior helping to plan, as there are usually a number of senior recognition items.

All students should be involved in the planning and execution of the banquet as much as needed, especially during the brainstorming portion.

Generally, these are the groups who have agendas for that night:

  • students
  • Tech Boosters
  • parents with phones and cameras (read: pictures are important on a night like this)


Planning for the banquet should begin in earnest at least 4 weeks before the scheduled date to avoid rushing during AP weeks. This is especially important if the team is involved in further levels of competition (i.e. District Champs, Worlds) during the preceding few weeks.

Parts of the Banquet


For the year-end banquet, these people typically eat for free:

  • seniors
  • alumni
  • mentors
  • any guests of the team (e.g. administrators, custodians, teachers, etc.)

Everyone else usually pays $10-15.


There should be a unified signup to serve two purposes: get an accurate headcount to determine how much food to order and facilitate student planning by providing attendance lists. Students can plan awards and other activities around who is expected to show up.

The signup form should include:

  • number of paying attendees
  • number of non-paying attendees
  • last/family name
  • names of all attendees
  • link to payment site/info on paying in-person

Special Invitations

Special, formal invitations from the team should be sent out to anyone not associated with a mentor or student of the team and should be sent out at least a week before the event but really as early as possible. Even the invitation itself can bring joy to the invitee.

  • teachers
    • best reached by email or in person
  • administrators
    • generally best reached by email
    • DeFrances best reached in person
  • custodians
    • advice from the front office: walk around until you find them
  • any others as the team sees fit

Letter for 2017 Banquet Invitations (similar letter for teachers and others):

Greetings members of the Atholton administration!

My name is Timothy Lin, one of the team captains for the robotics team. In celebration of our accomplishments this year in making it to the world championships and performing well as a team, this year's banquet, organized by the student leadership of the team, involves the recognition of everyone who has been an essential component of our success. The relationship between our team and the administration is invaluable for the success of our team. We the students of the Atholton robotics team would like to invite you all to join us tomorrow evening in the cafeteria (more details are below). If you are able to attend for part of or for the whole event, please let me know.

Thank you for everything you've done to make our team possible!

Best regards,
Timothy Lin

~ Atholton Space RAIDers Robotics Banquet
5:30-8:30 @AHS Cafeteria
Events include Chipotle catering, silly/amusing awards for students and adult mentors, carbonated grapes, and an opportunity to drive some of our robots. If you are unable to join us for the entire night, food and cake is served within the first hour, the robots will be demonstrated at the end (with an opportunity for many to drive them).

If you have the opportunity and skill, you can make something more advanced than just an email (e.g. a flyer, etc.).


Confirmation that the cafeteria is reserved for the night of the banquet should happen early, with Ms. DeFrances.

Technical Aspects of the Cafeteria

Sound and Projection

The sound board is always closed but unlocked. To use sound, first turn on the main soundboard (upper power switch) then wait about 10 seconds, and then turn on the auxiliary sound equipment (lower power switch). THIS ORDER IS IMPORTANT! To turn it off, reverse that order (if the lower power switch gets stuck in the ON position, just turn off the upper power switch anyway, sometimes that will clear it).

The VGA and sound ports are located in the middle of the cafeteria wall (only location for VGA; other random locations for sound).

Projection Screen

NO IDEA how to move up/down.


If using rectangular tables:
#tables needed for attendees = #attendees expected/12 + 2


Traditionally, the team has had Chipotle catering for the past many years, which is easy and popular (other options are not excluded).

Snacks can include the standard ones catered from restaurants. Exotic variants though include carbonated grapes prepared by students. Viva las uvas carbonatadas!

Dessert is often a custom cake from a warehouse store, e.g. Costco or BJ's. Multiple cakes is very possible, especially if multiple messages are needed (cite 2017 cakes: Happy Birthday and Congratulations on the year).

The order of the food distribution is usually

  1. specially invited guests (e.g. teachers, administrators, custodians, etc.)
  2. mentors and seniors
  3. all others

but doesn't have to follow such an order.


  • Slideshow
    • Young/Freshman/Senior Before & After photos always a hit
    • photos from various events of the year
  • Student Performances
    • student music [many students are musically gifted, in bands, can write songs, etc.; these need to be set up very early however]
  • Videos
    • any videos from the year; best used when interspersed between activities (i.e. senior awards --> video --> mentor awards --> video --> recognition of administrators --> video)
  • Demonstration of Robot(s)
    • if the team makes it to Championships, the robot will not be back in time


  • Blue Banners
  • Green and Black Balloons
  • Green (and Black) Plastic Tablecloth
  • Table Centerpieces
  • Streamers, etc.

Recognition & Awards

This section, of all the sections on this page, should be built upon regularly. The team should be adding ideas here as to how to recognize the various groups that contribute to the team's existence and success (seniors are also listed here as a group, but don't fit into that description as well).

All Members of the Team

This section is usually short (but doesn't have to be) and should be the center focus of the event, not the individual awards.

  • Group Pictures
  • Handing Out of Medals


  • Mentor Letters

These should be heartfelt, personal (physical) letters written from students to mentors who they feel have impacted them or contributed in a significant way to their experience. Letters are usually half a page to a page long, double spaced, but should be however long the student is willing to write. As opposed to the awards, which are sillier and more jovial, these are more personal and end up being more meaningful to the mentors, many of which donate their time in order to improve your experience.

All the letters should be collected together by mentor and distributed at the end of the banquet.

  • Mentor Awards

Given to all mentors for whom students are willing to make an award, these are sillier awards that recognize some admirable trait, funny anecdote, or interesting personality of mentors, keeping the night light and interesting.


  • Thank You Cards


  • Thank You Cards


  • Thank You Cards
  • Cleaning up after ourselves (Let's not be "Hey, thanks for everything, now could you clean this up too?")


  • Thank You Cards
  • Flowers
  • Signed Picture Frames


  • Senior Awards

Modeled after the mentor awards, these are given to each member of the graduating class by an underclassman who has worked closely with them.

  • FRC Graduation Cords

Tech Boosters

The Tech Boosters are in charge of doing the following at the banquet:

  • Laura Mattejat Volunteer Award
  • informal vote of the next year's Boosters Board (requires a certain percentage of parents present which usually only occurs at the banquet)

They may also have other awards and gifts planned. Check with the Tech Boosters president/board.

General Planning Tips

  • Overestimate running time (keep reserves). Then work with several others to develop a fluid and flowing order of events for the night.
  • Find a personable and knowledgeable host who can also improvise well.
  • Begin the night with reviewing the year, focusing on the success and accomplishments achieved by the team. Reveal the banners, ensure everyone gets a medals (if applicable), and foster a general sense of enthusiasm.
  • Find new ways to improve on last year's banquet and forge new ideas. These new ideas will keep the banquet interesting and meaningful for a group of people.
  • Delegate tasks often to trustworthy people. Don't forget to check in with them periodically.
  • Begin setup early (~45 minutes before the scheduled start time) and make sure you coordinate with both DeFrances and the custodial staff.
  • Don't forget to charge batteries! (if using)

Archived Documents from Previous Years

Last modified 5 years ago Last modified on Dec 29, 2017, 5:58:35 PM