High school graduates might not yet have a clear view of their futures beyond 12th grade, but they know what gifts they'd like to receive to commemorate the milestone.
"Money," agreed Lodi High graduates-to-be Liz Vincent, Stephanie Diehl and Daniel Magana, after a rehearsal Wednesday at the Lodi Grape Bowl.
"It's the best thing you can get a graduate," Victor said.
While local shop owners have been scrambling to make sure they have specialty items in stock, parents are undoubtedly continuing the search for "the perfect gift," something that recognizes the accomplishment of finishing high school and moving into adulthood.
The most popular requests for gifts include laptop computers, digital cameras and gift cards, said Karen Stephens and Nancy Adams, both parents of Lodi High seniors (they were selling Grad Night tickets after the grad rehearsal). Adams said it's become common for parents to pay for a graduation trip.
Diehl said she and her mom are going on a one-week adventure cruise in Mexico, where they'll go surfing, hiking and sailing. Magana received a new Honda, and is hoping for a laptop he can use for college classes.
Richard Linton, owner of the downtown engraving and trophy shop Lasting Impressions, said many gift-givers prefer decorative wooden Polish boxes, which can be engraved with a monogram, name, high school graduation date or other design. Many of the boxes are large enough to hold pens and pencils, or small keepsakes.
Another favorite choice for a gift by parents and grandparents: wooden or chrome-plated pen and pencil sets, which can also be personalized, Linton said.
"It's nice to get something practical they can use in college," Adams said, noting that last year she purchased a half-dozen mini tool kits from Brookstone. The kits make it easier to set up posters, fix bikes, install shelves and more, she said.
Vine and Branches Christian Bookstore's owner and the store's gift buyer Bonnie Biddle said she sells many leather-bound Bibles for graduates. The Bibles, which come in an array of colors and leather styles, can be personalized with name imprinting right in the store. Other gift items are necklaces and bracelets, and inspirational books such as Chuck Swindoll's "Dear Graduate," James Dobson's "Life on the Edge" and Max Lucado's "Let the Journey Begin."
At Frames and Fine Things, gifts include patterned tote bags by luggage design company Vera Bradley, alongside glass business card holders and desk accessories by glass and pottery artist Simon Pearce.
Other shops, including Larsen's Hallmark and Lakewood Drugs, have some Lodi-specific items as well as graduation balloons, photo albums and frames, and stuffed animals.
"It's to give recognition of an achievement. If you acknowledge someone's achievement, that usually propels them to go on to something further," Lasting Impressions owner Richard Linton said.
Contact Kendyce Manguchei at email@example.com.
At a glance
What graduates want:
• New car
• Laptop computer
• A trip somewhere exotic
• Digital camera
• Cold, hard cash
What they'll probably get:
• Gift cards
• Travel journal
• Pen and pencil set, stationery
• "Oh, The Places You'll Go," by Dr. Seuss
• Framed graduation or senior portrait
• Cards that say "Con-grad-ulations"
First published: Friday, June 2, 2006