Hi, F/E director friends! Most of you are here because you are interested in my end-of-year awards certificates for Memory Masters, so I wanted to explain how they’re designed to be used. I purposely tried to design them to provide lots of options, but sometimes that creates more confusion than clarity. Since many people completely miss the READFIRST file that often accompanies a product (me, too!), here’s the lowdown.

When you unzip the folder, you’ll see the following items:

  • Certificates by Cycle (folder)
  • Plain Background Images (folder)
  • READFIRST.pfd (instructions!)
  • Sample_Challenge.docx (Microsoft Word document file)
  • Sample_Essentials.docx (Microsoft Word document file)
  • Sample_Foundations.docx (Microsoft Word document file)

Certificates by Cycle contains PDF and JPG files for each cycle (1, 2, 3, all) with a big blank area in the middle for you to customize for your students. There’s a Microsoft Word .docx file in this folder that is already set up with sample content: all you have to do is customize it with your student and community information. If you’re a Mac user, I’m sorry that I don’t have a corresponding .pages file that will help you do the same, but it should be relatively easy to set one up if you look at the sample images of what a completed certificate looks like. {In any of you create a blank .pages file and would be willing to share it, I would happily add it to this download package!}

Plain Background Images contains the 4 colored backgrounds with no text (in JPG and PDF formats) so that you can create certificates for other uses if you’d like. You can add text not only to the big blank space in the middle but you can also customize the top and bottom areas with alternative information. Which is a great segue into…

Sample_Challenge.docx, Sample_Essentials.docx, and Sample_Foundations.docx are all Microsoft Word examples of what you can do with the plain background images. Depending on what you want to use them for (a Challenge end of year certificate or perhaps something for Science Fair or debate), you can customize the text at the bottom as well as in the big blank area. Your creativity is unlimited, really! 

If you need even more streamlined instructions, here are my suggestions:

If you’re a Foundations director and want to use these for Memory Masters, go to the Certificates by Cycle folder, find the cycle you need, and have the number you need printed at Office Depot using the CC discount–or print them at home. After you have as many as you need for your students, customize CertificateText.docx (or find a parent to help you with this!) for each student who has attained Memory Master: you will need to type the student’s name and any other information that will change from student to student, print it on one of your pre-printed certificates, and then edit the file for the next student. Edit > print, edit > print until you’ve printed all of them for your Memory Masters. Easy peasy!

If you’re an Essentials director, open up the Sample_Essentials.docx file, customize it for your first student and then print the certificate. Go back, edit the student name and print another one. Do this for as many students as you have. If you used these certificates last year and want to change the background to a different color, click somewhere on the background image, then right-click and point to Change Picture > From a File > and then navigate to the location of the Plain Background Images folder. Choose the background you want, click Insert, and it will appear in your Word file. {Again, apologies if you are using a Mac computer. If you are, you’ll need to create your own text file. If you don’t know how to create a file with a full page background, you’ll want to print your chosen color PDFs first (Plain Background Images folder), then put those in your printer and print over them for the customized text.}

If you’re a Challenge director, open up the Sample_Challenge.docx file, and customize both the certificate info and the bottom area with whatever text goes along with the achievement you’re celebrating. I chose to put a quote from Corrie ten Boom in the sample, which would make a nice end of year certificate for a Challenge B student. You can change this to anything, though, giving you lots of options for various events that occur throughout the Challenge years. Similar to the Essentials instructions, if you’d like to switch out the background to a different color, you can do that easily (see above paragraph for directions). 

The fonts that are used for this certificate are Lobster and Montserrat, both of which are available for free at Font Squirrel. You’ll want to download and install them to your computer before you attempt to open the Word files or else the content will be displayed in a substitute font. 

I hope these will be helpful to you as you celebrate various milestones with your students!