Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of organizing a middle school graduation ceremony is the selection of poems and prayers for the ceremony. I know for fact that children in junior high are not the best repositories for poetry. Prayers might be a different case if you have brought them in a religious environment. However poetry is only appreciated with the experience of age. It does not come easily to all and sundry. Teenagers that are in Jr. High are not particularly interested in poetry and you will be hard pressed to get any fans. If it were up to me I would seriously consider omitting the poetry part of the program.
However if you decide that you are going to use poetry you need to use material that makes sense to the middle school graduate who will be the majority of attendants at the party. If there is some way that they can recite their own poetry, then it will be all the better for all concerned. In any case the pieces should be relatively light and appropriate for a modern audience that may not take too kindly to Shakespeare in his full glory. You might have to tone it down significantly before you get to the level that is suitable for the middle school graduation ceremony that you are trying to organize.
The next step is to consider who is going to recite the poetry at the middle school graduation ceremony. If I know teenagers well I will be almost certain that they will not want to be reciting poetry in front of a bunch of people. That is why it is better to look at alternatives such as having the parents or visitors recite the poetry. If they have younger brothers and sisters, you may be fairly surprised to note that they will be less shy about these things and might volunteer to recite the poetry. If this is the case then you can thank your lucky stars.
For some families prayers are a must and there is no way that they can complete a middle school graduation ceremony without having to first thank their God for his beneficence. They will also be praying for the future of the graduate. Where the parents are very insistent on prayer, the chances will be that they will have brought up their children in a Christian faith that will just be part of preaching to the converted.
In fact if you have a very religious family you will find that the graduate will want to say the prayers themselves. The prayers will normally involve a standard prayer for the food that is about to be consumed. There can then be prayers of thanksgiving and hope which relate specifically to the graduate. If you are going to invite a priest, it is better that you get one who is familiar with the family and who shares a denomination with the graduate. Otherwise you might end up saying prayers that do not exactly scream encouragement to the visitors.