Amazing Valedictorian Speech Examples & Tips | SpeechPaths
Memorable valedictorian speech examples (+ Tips & ideas)
Becoming a valedictorian and giving a speech in front of other fellow graduates is a great honor. On the flip side, drafting a memorable speech that the audience will remember for a long time is a huge stress. You need to reflect about four years in high school, choose a theme that will resonate with others, and keep the audience engaged during the entire speech.
To make things easier for you, in this post, our pro speechwriters share the secrets for writing a perfect speech for your graduation ceremony.
Keep reading to find out:
- tips & tricks for writing a great valedictorian speech,
- two speech examples for your inspiration, and
- recommendations for polishing your delivery.
Are you too stressed to write your high school graduation speech? No worries - our experienced speech writers can craft your text from scratch or revise it. We prepare witty, inventive, and attention-grabbing speeches even if you need them by tomorrow. Contact us ASAP to get a free quote and your special student discount!
Good valedictorian speech examples
If you're not sure where to get started, take a look at the example valedictorian speeches to get inspired:
This speech reflects on the unique experience of everyone present and the importance of seeing each day as a learning experience. It also has an inspirational note, encouraging the classmates not to let our self-doubt stand in front of the new opportunities. As any other valedictorian address, it expresses gratitude to teachers, peers, parents, and faculty, and mentions that graduation is only the start of an exciting life.
This concise valedictorian speech congratulates proud graduates and is less formal than the previous one. It emphasizes the importance of education and academic excellence, as well as the friends you made in high school, and ends on a high note, congratulating peers on graduation day and encouraging them to take any path that students want in life.
You can use these examples to get an idea of how to organize your text and what to add. Below, we'll share tips and guidance for writing memorable, inventive valedictorian speeches.
What to say in your graduation speech: Tips & strategies
Good valedictorian speeches share some common elements. They express gratitude for being invited to speak, reflect on shared memories of school days, and look forward to the next phase of life. Here's how to craft a strong high school graduation speech:
Begin with a welcome and gratitude
The opening of your valedictorian speech sets the tone for the rest of your presentation, so it's essential to grab your audience's attention from the start.
Begin your speech by thanking everyone who helped you achieve something in life and guided you along the journey - teachers, students, and parents. This will set a humble, appreciative tone. Congratulate fellow students on their big day and start with an anecdote or an interesting fact.
Choose a theme for your valedictorian speech
Good speeches have a central element that sets the tone. You may use one element for the entire graduation speech, or use two or three, just be sure to keep your speech concise. Reach out to other presenters to make sure that they don't use the same theme as you, otherwise the audience will be bored. Here are some popular valedictorian speech perspectives you can use:
- friends and friendship
- shared memories
- overcoming obstacles and failures
- advice to achieve success
- importance of gratitude
- stories about classmates, etc.
Mention collective experiences
After four years in high school, you and your classmates surely have some interesting stories and experiences. Consider telling about challenges you faced, anecdotes, or stories about important milestones. You can mention both achievements and learning experiences.
Sharing such stories will make your speech personal and human, and also will remind your friends and teachers about the most memorable moments.
Use inspiring quotes
Every great valedictorian speech quotes some accomplished person: Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rawling, Steve Jobs, etc. A relevant quote helps inspire the audience, better get your message across and surely draws the attention. Use quotes related to education, achievements, professional development, staying true to yourself, and overcoming setbacks.
Reflect on challenges you faced
Your graduating class surely had its fair share of challenges. Recollect the obstacles that the entire class or several students faced and how they overcame these challenges in your valedictorian speech. Such stories highlight resilience and determination, and show the life lessons you learned.
Similarly, you can tell about the shared triumph - winning in the contest or achieving a big goal together. Just be sure to pick stories that matter to your classmates and resonate with everybody. Such stories will inspire your peers to do better and overcome adversity in the future.
Storytelling techniques make any speech better. They keep the audience engaged and make people relate to your message. Weaving in inspirational stories will also remind your peers about the friendship and the importance of events they had together.
Look into the future
Graduating from school is not the end of your academic journey. In addition to reflecting on the past, a good valedictorian speech also looks positively in the future. Encourage your classmates to embrace change, pursue their dreams fearlessly, and make a positive impact on the world. No matter what path they choose, wish well to everyone in your graduating class and express hope for a great future.
Mention the importance of developing their talents and gaining knowledge for achieving success in life. Encourage everyone to grow professionally and personally. Everybody has the power to make a difference, so, you might want to make this a central element of your speech.
End on a positive note
At the end of the speech, recap the key points and remarkable moments you've shared in your address. Remind the audience about the amazing journey you had together. You don't know if you'll cross paths with your classmates and whether you'll go to the same university. So, wish them luck in all future endeavors and thank them for the time spent together.
Consider adding an inspiring call to action as well. Encourage your friends to pursue their dreams, realize their potential, and stay true to themselves. This will leave your audience with a closing statement that exudes optimism for the future and the great opportunities it holds.
Practice delivering your speech
Your valedictorian speech won't captivate the hearts of the audience if you don't show genuine emotions and read it from paper. After you've written your speech, take some time to polish your delivery. Practice speaking it at home in front of the mirror, or deliver the speech to your friends and family.
Watch your body language and use gestures.
Speak in front of the mirror to control your gestures, facial impressions, and other elements of body language. Use specific hand movements, facial expressions, and posture to enhance your message and connect better with the audience. Make sure that your posture and face are consistent with what you are saying.
Pay attention to your vocal delivery.
Use appropriate pauses and variations of tone to make your speech not only informative, but also emotional. Practice speaking in the microphone to choose the appropriate volume of your speech. Record yourself to see shortcomings in your delivery and fix them. Use a positive, hopeful tone to inspire your classmates and leave a lasting impression.
Maintain eye contact.
When delivering your valedictorian speech, you'll need to maintain eye contact to keep your audience engaged. Learn to scan the room and make eye contact with different sections of the audience. If this sounds challenging at first, try looking at the most distant person in the hall and speaking to them.
Mistakes to avoid when delivering your valedictorian speech
When it comes to delivering a stellar valedictorian speech, content and delivery are equally important. Be sure to avoid these common mistakes to leave a lasting impression:
- Don't read your speech - while using speaker's notes is okay, reading from paper makes a poor impression. It shows your fellow graduates that you didn't take enough time to rehearse and practice.
- Don't rush - some people start speaking faster when they get nervous. Yet, there's a risk that the audience miss the content of your speech. Practice to maintain a steady pace so that everyone understands your message.
- Don't use little-known facts - in your speech, use stories that most graduates know and will find relatable. Sharing a story about your friend that anyone knows isn't likely to sound impressive.
- Don't keep it too formal - leaving high school is an important emotional moment, so being too reserved can spoil the moment. Use genuine emotions when crafting your valedictorian speech - they will surely resonate with the audience.
- Don't overuse cliches - each bad valedictorian speech is full of cliches. To make your speech memorable, use authentic stories and vivid language. If you struggle to pick the right words, consider working with a speechwriter.
By following these tips, you'll craft a valedictorian speech that reflects your shared journey, motivates your classmates for great things in life, and leaves everyone uplifted and inspired. So, encourage your classmates to strive for excellence in everything and highlight the potential of each individual.
Use storytelling techniques, show genuine emotions, and use an enthusiastic tone to get your speech remembered by everyone.
Let our valedictorian speech experts help and impress your graduating class
Writing and delivering a valedictorian speech is a responsible task. If you feel the pressure or your perfectionism gets in the way, consider getting help from a talented speechwriter. At SpeechPaths, we prepare affordable speeches for any special occasion, including high school graduation.
You'll work one-on-one with a pro writer who will find the right words and use storytellin