Sample Highschool Graduation Speeches & Tips | SpeechPaths
Highschool graduation speeches: Examples & writing tips
High school graduation is one of the most important moments in life. And, if you were chosen to speak to your classmates at the graduation ceremony, you can make this day even more memorable for your peers and everyone present. If you have never written speeches before, worry no more. Read this article to find out:
- how to write a memorable high school graduation speech,
- how to choose a theme that resonates with your audience, and
- sample speeches to get inspired to write.
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High school graduation speech example
Why is this a good commencement speech? Firstly, this sample speech starts with a note of gratitude for being chosen to speak in front of fellow graduates, teachers, and parents. It uses a humble and appreciative tone that draws attention.
Secondly, the speech focuses on many opportunities that every graduate has in life, encouraging those present to embark on any path they wish in life and be open to what the future holds. And finally, the speaker uses an inspirational quote by J.K. Rowling, encouraging the students to embrace failure and take risks as they open the next chapter in their lives.
You can also use that the speech uses simple sentences and has some inspiring statements, which makes it easy to comprehend for a graduating class and guests. Below, we'll talk about how to compose your graduation speech that will impress other students and ignite emotions.
More examples of graduation speeches
This speech taps into shared memories, inspires students to achieve great things in life after high school years, and also uses quotes by Shakespeare. It is motivating, yet the student also uses a bit of humor to make their speech engaging and interesting to listen to. Plus, they use pop culture references to make the speech more relatable to their friends and classmates.
Schools often invite famous people to give a commencement speech. This famous commencement speech by Steve Jobs includes some pivotal stories from his life. On this big day, he basically gives students life lessons about finding their professional passion, love, and death through engaging stories. Storytelling techniques work well in graduation speeches, so you might want to share a story or two in your speech.
How to write a powerful high school graduation speech?
Start with a hearty welcome and gratitude
Begin your speech by showing appreciation for the opportunity to give a high school graduation speech. You may start with "Congratulations class" or use a different salutation. Greet everyone present, including your peers, teachers, parents, and friends, and thank everyone who helped you graduate and become who you are now. Let gratitude and humility be the key elements of your speech.
Pick a theme for your speech
Every professional writer will tell you that a good graduation speech always has a main theme that sets the tone and defines what to include. You may choose one central theme or briefly cover two or three. The major themes for graduation speeches are:
- overcoming obstacles in life
- embracing failure and learning from it
- looking back to school years and shared memories
- the importance of dreaming big and taking responsibility for your future
- the value of friends and friendship
- setting high expectations and making a difference, etc.
Follow the rules of writing ceremonial speeches
Writing ceremonial speeches isn't the same as composing essays. Your speech will benefit if you use such specific techniques as identification (your audience needs to feel that you consider their needs and they become a part of the speech) and magnification (emphasizing positive attributes of someone, for example, your classmates).
Telling a story also works great - everyone loves stories. Be sure to use vivid, imaginative language, add anecdotes, metaphors, and figures of speech. Inventive, bright speeches are more memorable and spark emotions in those present.
Look back on the journey
You've spent many years with your classmates, and you don't know if you'll ever cross paths in the future. So, use your speech to recall shared experiences. You may tell a story about a person in your class that everyone knows, share a curious anecdote about your first day in high school, or recollect the big goal you've achieved with classmates.
High school is not only for education, it's the time when you make friends, learn to overcome obstacles and understand what matters most in life, so share some elements of this journey with others.
Add inspirational quotes
Quotes by famous people work excellently on any graduation speech. A right motivational quote will inspire the audience, help convey your main message, and draw the attention of the audience. Here's an example of a quote by J.K.Rawling that you can use in your commencement speech:
"You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned."
Motivate and look ahead
After you have recollected things from your past in your graduation speech, it's time to look at the future with confidence and a sense of anticipation. No matter what path they choose, wish other students well in the future and express hope that they will achieve their goals and turn their dreams into reality. End on a positive note, wish your classmates luck both in college and in the big world in general, and add an inspiring call to action.
Even if you have a lot of things to say to graduates, teachers, and parents, an overly long speech can bore the audience. Since there are several speeches during the graduation ceremony, writing a long speech is not the best idea. Try to keep your speech under 10 minutes, and the optimal word count is 800 words.
Edit the first draft
After you have completed the first draft of your graduation speech, look through it multiple times to make sure it sounds engaging, delivers your point clearly, and is free from any mistakes. Ask your friends, family, or a teacher to give you feedback. For an even better result, show it to a professional speech writer who can share in-depth suggestions on content, structure, and writing style.
Here's what to look at when revising your speech:
- make sure that it meets the recommended word count and takes less than 10 minutes;
- the speech should have an introduction that sets your theme and expresses gratitude, the body section that expands on your point, and an inspiring conclusion;
- check the accuracy of all facts, details, and quotes you use in your speech;
- make sure there is no inappropriate content, such as insults to some groups, racist jokes, or anything that can be misinterpreted;
- check grammar, syntax, and word choice.
Prepare visual aids
For a truly memorable impression, consider using visual aids, such as photos or videos. You can create a slideshow using images of your class, teachers, or pictures taken at some important events (i.e. winning a contest). Use pictures of all students, and avoid including those that can embarrass someone.
With these hands-on strategies, you will write a good graduation speech that will touch the hearts of the audience and maybe even get a standing ovation. Rehearse your speech so that you don't read it from paper. And don't be afraid to share genuine emotions, as in this big day everyone will share them and relate to your words.
Get expert help with your high school graduation speech
If you have too little time or simply want your graduation speech to be perfect, you can rely on our experts. At SpeechPaths, we prepare custom speeches for any occasion, including college and high school graduation. Our speechwriter will recall the experiences from your school days and use a motivational tone to inspire your audience. Contact us today to discuss the details of your speech and get a free quote!