Speech Writing

Graduation Speech

Barbara P

Crafting the Perfect Graduation Speech: A Guide with Examples

10 min read

Published on: Mar 12, 2020

Last updated on: Nov 7, 2023

Graduation Speech

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Have you ever stood at the threshold of a new journey, feeling a mix of excitement and uncertainty? 

Well, if you're a soon-to-be graduate, that's probably exactly how you're feeling right now.

The big day is coming, and you're wondering, 'How will I write my speech? Can I ask for speech writing help?

Don’t worry!

In this blog, we're going to tell you how to write a graduation speech for students. Get ready to discover the secrets of crafting a graduation speech that not only captures your audience's attention but also leaves a profound impact on your fellow graduates.

Let's transform that uncertainty into inspiration and confidence as we delve into the art of delivering a speech that will make your graduation day truly unforgettable.

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What is a Graduation Speech?

A graduation speech is the heart of your big day, bringing together all your experiences and achievements. 

It's more than just talking – it's a way to inspire and celebrate. It's not just a tradition. This type of speech is a chance to share what you've learned and dream about the future.

Your graduation speech should include everyone – your friends, the tough times you all faced, and the good times you shared. 

Elements of Graduation Speech

Creating a memorable graduation speech involves several key elements that can help you connect with your audience and make a lasting impression. 

Here are the crucial elements you should consider:

All these elements make a strong and memorable speech and help make your graduation successful.

How to Write a Graduation Speech?

Writing an inspirational graduation speech that stands out isn't as daunting as it may seem. 

With a structured approach and a dash of creativity, you can deliver the best special occasion speech that leaves a lasting impact on your audience. 

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to start a graduation speech and create an inspiring address:

Begin with a Memorable Opening 

Start with an attention-grabbing quote, a personal anecdote, or a thought-provoking question. 

This sets the tone for your speech and captures your audience's interest right from the beginning.

Express Gratitude 

Show appreciation to your teachers, parents, and fellow students. 

Express how their support and contributions have been instrumental in your academic journey. This sets a positive and grateful tone for your speech.

Reflect on Meaningful Moments 

Share personal stories and school experiences that have had a significant impact on your life and the lives of your classmates. 

Use these anecdotes to connect with your audience emotionally.

Offer Words of Inspiration 

Provide words of inspiration and motivation. Encourage your fellow graduates to embrace the future with confidence and courage.

Use stories or quotes to illustrate your points.

Share Practical Advice 

Share life lessons and any advice you've learned during your academic journey. 

Offer insights related to pursuing goals, overcoming challenges, and maintaining a positive outlook on life.

Emphasize Unity and Shared Experiences 

Highlight the importance of unity and the bonds formed with your classmates. 

Emphasize the strength of collective experiences and friendships that have been a significant part of your school life.

Discuss Hopes and Dreams 

Talk about your hopes and dreams for the future, both for yourself and your fellow graduates. Paint a vivid picture of the exciting possibilities that lie ahead.

End with an Inspiring Conclusion 

Conclude your speech with a memorable message that resonates with your audience. 

Leave them with a lasting impression or a call to action that inspires them to take on the future with enthusiasm.

Graduation Speeches From Notable Figures 

Notable figures, from celebrities to accomplished professionals, often deliver inspiring graduation speeches, sharing their wisdom, experiences, and advice with the graduates. 

In this section, we explore some remarkable graduation speeches that have left a lasting impact on audiences worldwide.

Taylor Swift Graduation Speech 

Taylor Swift, the renowned singer-songwriter, delivered an inspiring graduation speech that emphasized embracing change and authenticity. 

Her words have motivated graduates worldwide, making her speech a source of valuable life lessons.

“The times I was told no or wasn’t included, wasn’t chosen, didn’t win, didn’t make the cut…looking back, it really feels like those moments were as important, if not more crucial, than the moments I was told ‘yes.’ …” 

Watch complete graduation speech here: 

Rory Gilmore Graduation Speech 

Rory Gilmore, a beloved fictional character from the TV series "Gilmore Girls," delivered a heartwarming graduation speech that celebrated the value of hard work, ambition, and the pursuit of dreams. 

Her speech remains an iconic moment in the series and a testament to the power of perseverance and ambition.

Watch her graduation speech here:

Ree Drummond - Oklahoma State University 

Ree Drummond, known as "The Pioneer Woman," shared her insights and wisdom in a graduation speech delivered in 2022. 

Her address offers a unique perspective on life, success, and the pursuit of dreams, making it a valuable resource for graduates seeking inspiration and guidance as they set out on their own paths.

Listen to the complete speech in this video:

Steve Jobs - 2005 

Steve Jobs' iconic 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University delivered invaluable life lessons and inspiration. 

His words continue to resonate with graduates and individuals worldwide, offering timeless guidance on pursuing one's passions and creating a meaningful life.

Check out his complete speech in this video: 

Graduation Speech Examples for Students 

Looking for inspiration for your own graduation speech? Here is a short graduation speech:

Read some more diverse graduation speech samples to spark your creativity:

Graduation Speech for Kindergarten - Example

Short Graduation Speech

Graduation Speech for Kids

Graduation Speech For Primary 6

8th Grade Graduation Speech

High School Graduation Speech

Explore a collection of inspiring graduation speeches, each offering a unique perspective on this momentous occasion.

Graduation Speech by Students - Example

Graduation Speech for Parents - Example

Graduation Speech by Teacher - Example

Graduation Speech by Principal- Example

Graduation Speech Thanking Teachers

Graduation Speech Ideas - 2023

Here are some interesting and fun graduation speech ideas.

  • Talk about a current school event.
  • Try something new like poetry or metaphors to make your speech interesting.
  • Tell a story about your class, for example, ‘what was the driving force of the class of 2021?’
  • Use quotes from famous and classic books.
  • Use lyrics from the class anthem.
  • Be inspirational and share an inspirational story.
  • Share a humorous experience.
  • Convey a memorable message.
  • If appropriate, add a song with meaning.
  • Appreciate a fellow classmate or a teacher.
  • Connect your speech with your 1st day at school.
  • Significant events that took place in the school.
  • A professor that made you fall in love with a major subject.
  • The long time you spent in the school library and how it impacted your interactions with other students.
  • Tell me about who inspired you the most in your life.

Graduation Speech Writing Tips 

Crafting a memorable graduation speech can be a rewarding yet challenging task. Here are some essential tips to help you write an impactful and engaging speech for your big day:

  • Know Your Audience: Understanding your audience is crucial to tailor your speech effectively.
  • Start Strong: An attention-grabbing beginning sets the tone for your speech.
  • Tell Personal Stories: Personal anecdotes and experiences create a meaningful connection.
  • Inspire and Motivate: Your speech should encourage confidence about the future.
  • Share Practical Advice: Offering practical life advice adds value to your speech.
  • Embrace Humor: Appropriately used humor can engage your audience.
  • Be Concise: Keeping your speech at an appropriate length is essential to maintain interest.
  • Practice and Rehearse: Preparation ensures confidence in your delivery.
  • End on a High Note: A memorable conclusion leaves a lasting impression.

As you take that first step forward, congratulations on your graduation, and we wish you the best of luck in whatever comes next. We hope this graduation speech guide has given you some pointers for what to say in your speech.

If you need further help, you can avail of our assistance and get your speech before the big day.

At MyPerfectWords.com , one of the best " write my essay services ", we help new graduates make their day memorable by delivering quality speeches.

Buy speech from us and get ready to shine.

Barbara P (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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This writer analyzed 100 graduation speeches — here are the 4 tips they all share

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sample writing a graduation speech

Steve Jobs has been credited over the years with popularizing any number of other people’s inventions, from the personal computer to the tablet to the mobile phone. But none of these gifts may be as enduring as one of his rarely credited contributions to contemporary life — popularizing the viral commencement address.

On June 12, 2005, Jobs stood before the graduating class of Stanford University and reminded them that he had never graduated from college. “Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation.” He then told three stories about his life. “That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.”

That speech , coinciding as it did with the rise of internet virality (the first TED Talk would be posted on TED.com exactly 12 months later; the iPhone was introduced exactly 12 months after that), launched a global obsession with pithy, inspirational talks. Jobs’s speech has since been viewed more than 40 million times on YouTube.

Graduation speeches, long viewed as the burdensome interruption before diplomas were granted and mortar boards were tossed, have since become big business. Kurt Vonnegut, Ann Patchett, Carl Hiaasen, J.K. Rowling, Mary Karr, David Foster Wallace and many others have all had their commencement speeches published as books.

I’ve been fortunate to give a handful of commencement addresses over the years, and I confess to a fascination with the genre. The internet has been a boon this hobby. There are thousands of commencement speeches on the web. Can we learn anything from their messages?

I’ve spent the last few years gathering and coding hundreds of life stories, looking for patterns and takeaways that could help all of us live with more meaning, purpose and joy. I decided to put some of my coding tools to work, analyzing 100 of the most popular recent commencement speeches.

Here are the four tips they all contain:

1. Dream big

“I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. I know that sounds completely nuts. But, since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. There are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name. They all travel as if they are pack dogs and stick to each other like glue. The best people want to work the big challenges.” — Larry Page at University of Michigan , 2009

“We don’t beat the reaper by living longer. We beat the reaper by living well and living fully. For the reaper is always going to come for all of us. The question is: What do we do between the time we are born, and the time he shows up? Because when he shows up, it’s too late to do all the things that you’re always gonna, kinda get around to.” — Randy Pausch at Carnegie Mellon University , 2009

“Graduates, we need you. We need you to run companies and make decisions about who has access to capital. We need you to serve at the highest levels of government and determine our country’s standing in the world. We need you to work in our hospitals and in our courtrooms and in our schools. We need you to shape the future of technology. We need you because your perspective — the sum total of your intellect and your lived experience — will make our country stronger.” — Kamala Harris at Tennessee State University , 2022

2. Work hard

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” — Steve Jobs at Stanford University , 2005

“I just directed my first film. I was completely unprepared, but my own ignorance to my own limitations looked like confidence and got me into the director’s chair. Once there, I had to figure it all out, and my belief that I could handle these things, contrary to all evidence of my ability to do so was half the battle. The other half was very hard work. The experience was the deepest and most meaningful one of my career.” — Natalie Portman at Harvard University , 2015

“When you’re doing the work you’re meant to do, it feels right and every day is a bonus, regardless of what you’re getting paid … But make it your life’s work to remake the world because there is nothing more beautiful or more worthwhile than working to leave something better for humanity.” — Oprah Winfrey at Stanford University , 2008

3. Make mistakes

”Fail big. That’s right. Fail big … It’s a new world out there, and it’s a mean world out there, and you only live once. So do what you feel passionate about. Take chances, professionally. Don’t be afraid to fail. There’s an old IQ test with nine dots, and you had to draw five lines with a pencil within these nine dots without lifting the pencil, and the only way to do it was to go outside the box. So don’t be afraid to go outside the box.” — Denzel Washington at University of Pennsylvania , 2011

“The world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it’s one fewer than the number of times you get back up.” — Aaron Sorkin at Syracuse University , 2013

“My experience has been that my mistakes led to the best thing in my life. Being embarrassed when you mess up is part of the human experience of getting back up dusting yourself off and seeing who still wants to hang out with you afterward and laugh about it. That’s a gift. The times I was told no or wasn’t included wasn’t chosen, didn’t win, didn’t make the cut, looking back it really feels like those moments we’re as important if not more crucial than the moments I was told yes.” — Taylor Swift at NYU , 2022

“Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.” — Conan O’Brien at Dartmouth College , 2011

“Empathy and kindness are the true signs of emotional intelligence.” — Will Ferrell at the University of Southern California , 2017

“So here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it: What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded … sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly. Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth? Those who were kindest to you, I bet. It’s a little facile, maybe, and certainly hard to implement, but I’d say, as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.” — George Saunders at Syracuse University , 2013

So what can we learn from these themes?

Every era in American life has its own standards of what it means to be a success. Shortly after America’s founding, success was all about character. Led by Benjamin Franklin, Americans embraced virtue, industry, and frugality. In the twentieth century, success was all about personality. Led by Dale Carnegie, Americans embraced salesmanship, reinvention and charisma. Today, led by Steve Jobs, Americans are embracing meaning, authenticity and bliss. Or, as Kermit the Frog put it in a 1996 commencement speech at Southampton College , “May success and a smile always be yours … even when you’re knee-deep in the sticky muck of life.”

Dream, work, fail and smile are as good a foursome of American identity today as I know. And if those ideas don’t inspire you, you can always embrace the far more practical advice erroneously attributed to Kurt Vonnegut in a commencement speech that he never gave at MIT, but was instead delivered by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich in an imaginary speech to graduates she published in an old-fashioned newspaper, “Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97: Wear sunscreen.”

This post was adapted from one published on his newsletter The Nonlinear Life; go here to subscribe.

Watch his TEDxIEMadrid Talk now:

About the author

Bruce Feiler is the author of seven New York Times bestsellers, including The Secrets of Happy Families and Council of Dads, both of which became the subject of TED Talks. His latest book, Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age, from which this post and TEDx Talk are adapted, describes his journey across America, collecting hundreds of life stories, exploring how we can navigate life’s growing number of transitions with more meaning, purpose and joy. To learn more, visit brucefeiler.com, follow him on Twitter (@brucefeiler), or sign up for his newsletter The Nonlinear Life. 

  • bruce feiler
  • communication
  • inspiration
  • society and culture
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10 Steps For Writing An Unforgettable Graduation Speech

  • Pick A Theme
  • Begin With Gratitude
  • Motivational Quotes
  • Get Personal
  • Add Your Personality
  • Avoid Cliches
  • Create A Call To Action

School is almost out, but for many students, there’s one more major task to complete before summer: graduation. Whether you’re graduating from high school or earning a college degree, a graduation ceremony is a huge milestone. And, if you’ve been asked to speak at graduation, you might be feeling the pressure right now.

Graduation speeches of all kinds date back to at least the 1600s, and though a lot has changed since then, these kinds of speeches still contain similar key elements that help make them effective, inspiring, and something every graduating student and their loved ones look forward to.

Public speaking can be nerve-racking in any setting, particularly when you know the audience is filled with people’s cousins and grandparents who are likely to remember this day forever, but fear not! We’re here to help with these 10 key steps to follow to write and deliver a truly unforgettable graduation speech.

1. Pick a theme.

If you want the audience to feel moved and inspired by your speech (Who doesn’t, right?), then it helps to build your speech around a central theme or message. Think about what’s important to you as the speaker and what you’d like others to take away from your words. Once you have a theme, it will be easier to select the quotes and anecdotes that tie back to that central idea and create a speech that leaves your audience in awe.

🎓 Here are some popular themes to consider:

  • Embracing failure.
  • Overcoming adversity.
  • The importance of having big dreams.
  • Facing change with grace.
  • Taking responsibility for your future.
  • Learning from past mistakes.
  • The importance of friendship.
  • Becoming a lifelong learner.

2. Begin with gratitude.

When you step up to the mic on graduation day, you’ll need to begin with a few formalities. First, thank the previous speakers, as well as everyone in attendance. Then, express your feelings about the privilege of being asked to address the audience on this momentous occasion. Go ahead and write this part down so you don’t forget to do it on the big day. Here are some examples:

Thank you, [name of previous speaker], and thank you, friends, family, faculty, and fellow graduates for being here today. It’s an honor to celebrate this milestone with you as your valedictorian.

Thank you, [name of previous speaker]. Graduates, loved ones, and distinguished faculty members, it is an honor to be here with you today. I’m so grateful to [name of school or university] for the privilege of being your [type of speaker].

3. Use a motivational quote.

The greatest commencement speeches typically include a motivational quote, whether it’s from a famous person, a beloved teacher, or something your grandfather taught you. The right motivational quote will tie into your theme and serve as a thesis statement for the message you hope the audience will take from your words. Consider these celebrity quotes from other powerful commencement speeches:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” — Steve Jobs , Stanford University, 2005

“You must lead. You’re never too young to lead. You’re never too old to lead. We need your leadership now more than ever before.” — John Lewis , Harvard, 2018

“The day you graduate, you do not arrive. This is not the end. This is the beginning for you. To graduate is to change gradually.” — Rita Moreno , Northeastern Illinois University, 2015

“Ultimately, your life is made up of moments. So don’t miss them by being lost in the past or anticipating the future.” — Jessica Lange , Sarah Lawrence College, 2008

“You are full of complexities and wonders that haven’t even begun to surface. Life’s unpredictability will draw these out and what defines you now will be mere shades and hues of a more vibrant you over the next five, 10, 50 years. Honestly, I can’t think of anything more liberating than that, knowing that life will look differently than you think it will.” — Octavia Spencer , Kent State University, 2017

4. Get personal.

When Conan O’Brien delivered the commencement speech at Dartmouth University in 2011, he talked about being fired from his dream job and what that failure taught him. Some lauded it as one of the best graduation speeches of all time.

Sharing personal anecdotes, even ones that mention failures or humiliations, is a powerful way to connect with your audience and drive your message home in a personal way. When writing your speech, draw on your experiences as a student and be clear about how those experiences shaped and prepared you for what lies ahead.

Learn how to a sensational graduation card here.

5. Infuse your personality.

Graduation speeches may follow a formula, but that doesn’t mean they need to be boring! Use your personal sense of humor, unique story, and life experiences to give the speech character and charm. What does this look like in action?

In 2016, author John Green brought levity to his commencement speech when shared with the graduating class at Kenyon College that the best life advice he ever got was, “You’re a good kid, but you need to learn when to stop talking.”

At the University of Virginia in 2016, late night host Stephen Colbert joked that people should leave their cell phones on because “I wouldn’t want you to miss a text or a tweet while I’m giving my speech.”

You may not be a famous comedian or author, but being uniquely yourself can help your speech shine.

6. Reflect, then look ahead.

You and the rest of your graduating class are sharing a major life milestone, and you’ve all worked hard to get to this point. What has life been like during your years in school? What experiences have you shared, and how have those shaped you as people moving forward into the next phase of your life?

In your speech, include real-life examples of the things you’ve faced in your time as students. Put those events in context in your life, and remind your audience that you have all learned so much more than just what was on the course syllabi.

7. Avoid clichés

The tricky part of writing a graduation speech is being inspiring without resorting to clichés. If you use personal anecdotes and weave personality into your speech, it’s unlikely that you’ll fall back on tired, overused statements. But, sometimes they still sneak in. If that’s the case, try to swap them out with a fresher take.

Here are some ideas:

  • Instead of talking about the “real world” as a future destination, talk about how you already live there and you’re ready for whatever life throws at you.
  • Instead of defining a typical graduation word (like courage or future ), talk about the words that come to mind when you think about school and what they mean to you.
  • Instead of talking about what you’re “leaving behind,” talk about what lessons and people you’re taking with you.

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8. Create a call to action.

Graduation speeches serve two important purposes: celebrating everything that came before graduation day and building excitement for everything that will come after it. The easiest way to leave people inspired is to include a call to action. This doesn’t mean providing strict instructions for some task they must complete. Think of it more as broad instructions for how to meet the challenges ahead.

Your call to action should restate the theme of your speech and give the audience a clear takeaway message to carry with them. Need some examples? We have a few:

“Whatever you want to do, do it now. For life is time, and time is all there is.” — Gloria Steinem , Tufts University, 1987

“Let excellence be your brand.” — Oprah Winfrey , Spelman College, 2012

“Fight for the job you want, fight for the people who mean the most to you and fight for the kind of world you want to live in.” — Elizabeth Warren , Suffolk University, 2016

9. Keep it brief.

While you surely have a lot of great things to say, no one wants to sit through a 12-page speech. Graduation ceremonies are already long, and the audience is usually asked to listen to multiple speeches. Keep this in mind, and say what you’d like to say in the briefest way possible. Aim for a speech that falls between 500 and 750 words, and time yourself to make sure you don’t exceed 10 minutes during delivery.

10. Practice, practice, practice.

The only way to ensure your speech flows, makes sense, and holds people’s attention is to practice reading it out loud. Practice by yourself in front of a mirror, being careful to notice and edit any places where you trip over words or have awkward pauses. Once you’ve perfected the solo read-aloud, ask a parent or friend to serve as an audience. This will help you test out your jokes and polish your anecdotes based on their reactions. By graduation day, you’ll be ready to take to the stage like a pro.

Need more inspiration? These graduation quotes should do the trick.

sample writing a graduation speech

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How to Write a Graduation Speech (Graduation Speech Examples)


Have you been asked to deliver a commencement speech? Or have you worked your butt off to become valedictorian or salutatorian, and now you have to deliver a graduation speech? In this post, we will cover one of the more challenging types of presentation creation: How to Write a Graduation Speech . (By the way, I have also included a few popular graduation speech examples as a guide for you.)

This post is a continuation of our How to Create a Presentation series. We are going to break this post down into three parts, though. We will show you how to create a commencement speech in this post. Next week, I’ll show you how to write a valedictorian speech and how to deliver a salutatorian speech. Each of these graduation speeches has a slightly different purpose, but all of them need to be inspirational and funny.

How to Write a Commencement Speech

The commencement speech is often the keynote speech of the graduation ceremony. This presentation should be uplifting and entertaining, but this graduation speech should also teach a life lesson to the graduating students. If you do a search on YouTube of the best graduation speeches, many of these speakers will be famous comedians. When a comedian delivers a commencement speech, and the speech is posted on YouTube, it will always get a ton of views. The humor alone will make people want to watch the video. Three of the most popular of these speeches are by Conan O’Brien, Will Ferrell, and Ellen DeGeneres. The interesting thing about the speeches from these famous comedians is that, yes, they are funny, but the inspiration comes from what they learned from their failures.

“There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life life trying to push you in another direction.” Oprah Winfrey, Harvard University Commencement Speech

A Good Structure When You Write a Commencement Address

Thank the crowd.


Start with Something Funny

How Humor helps your speech

Be Inspirational

The inspirational part of your commencement speech will come from the theme of the graduation speech . (For Sample Graduation Speech Themes , see the section below.) The easiest way to develop a theme is to look for an inspirational famous quote about success. You can do this by just going to Google and type in “success quotes”. Once you come up with a great quote, you can either paraphrase the quote and make it your own or quote the original speaker.

Inspire others with your speech

Tell Stories from Your Own Experience Related to Your Quote (Theme).

This the most important part of how to write a graduation speech. The stories and examples are what the audience will remember. These stories add emotion and inspiration to your graduation speech. They also help you build rapport with the audience. Finally, these stories make your delivery much easier. You don’t have to memorize a lot of material. Instead, just play the video in your head of what happened and describe the incident to the graduates.

For a great example of this, watch the YouTube video on Stanford University’s channel where Steve Jobs gives the commencement speech. I love this speech, because Jobs skips the introduction and the funny stuff and starts his speech with the following. “I’m going to tell you three stories.” It’s simple, and the crowd loves him.

End with an Inspirational Call to Action.

How to end a graduation speech

So as you go on to the next stage in your life and you experience failure… because you will experience failure, use that as a stepping stone to your next success. Persevere. Don’t rest on that success. Use it as a stepping stone to your next success. Persevere, and you will experience a series of successes and failures that will allow you to accomplish something great!”

Use this outline to create a simple 20 to 30 minute speech. (The shorter the better… No one gets a diploma until you finish.)

Sample Graduation Speech Themes

Inspiration comes from failure

If you are having trouble coming up with a theme for your graduation speech, here are a few Sample Commencement Speech Themes. As you read through them, think about which them or quote has been most applicable in your career? Once you choose a graduation speech them, use the outline above to create your speech.

  • Hard Work Leads to Success
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” — Coleman Cox
  • Create Your Own Path.
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” — Herman Melville
  • Make Things Happen.
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.” — Henry David Thoreau
  • Don’t Settle for Average. Strive for Greatness.
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” –John D. Rockefeller
  • Don’t Wait for the Perfect Opportunity. Look for a Way to Create Your Own Opportunity.
“Opportunities don’t happen. You create them.” — Chris Grosser/blockquote> The Road Ahead is Hard, But It Leads to Success. “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” — Jim Rohn
  • Focus on Your Dream.
“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” — Bruce Lee
  • Learn from Every Mistake to Move Toward Success.
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” — Conrad Hilton
  • When Your Why is Big Enough, Your How Will Appear.
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” — Jim Rohn
  • Happiness is the Key to Success.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” — Albert Schweitzer

Use the Speech Creator as a Guide to How to Create a Graduation Speech

Once you have chosen a them, and you have a few stories to inspire your audience, use our Online Speech Writer to help you organize your thoughts. (It’s free.)

by Doug Staneart | Free Public Speaking Tips , Podcasts

View More Posts By Category: Free Public Speaking Tips | leadership tips | Online Courses | Past Fearless Presentations ® Classes | Podcasts | presentation skills | Uncategorized

Graduate students listening to a graduation speech

6 tips to write a great graduation speech (with examples) 

by Laura Jones

Published on November 24, 2022 / Updated on January 3, 2024

Being chosen to write a speech for a graduation ceremony is exciting, but also utterly terrifying, for many people. It’s not just your classmates in the audience, it’s parents and faculty too. And with some incredible student graduation speech examples out there (not to mention the perfection that was Steve Jobs’ speech ), there’s a lot to live up to. With that in mind, here are some tips and graduation speech examples to help you create the perfect commencement speech.

  • Pick a theme
  • Write an outline
  • Pen a catchy introduction
  • Write a thank-you paragraph
  • Look back and look ahead
  • End your graduation speech

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1. pick a theme.

The overall goal of graduation speeches is to inspire and move your audience. But there are lots of ways to do this, and picking the right theme is a big part of it. Popular themes are the importance of friendship; perseverance and overcoming adversity; having big dreams and imagination; making a difference. Once you have your theme, it will be easier to choose anecdotes, quotations , and examples to put into your speech.

2. Write an outline

The next step for any commencement speech is to write an outline. Breaking it up into manageable parts not only makes it feel less overwhelming, but it helps to give your speech structure, making it easier for the audience to follow. A good speech will have the following: 

  • A catchy introduction
  • A look back
  • A look ahead
  • A pithy ending

3. Pen a catchy introduction

Begin by thanking everyone for attending and for choosing you to be their speaker. Then, grab your audience’s attention from the very start with a hook. Lots of people choose to begin with a quotation that captures the theme of the whole speech. 

Example: I want to begin with a quotation from Nora Ephron: “Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” 

Other ways to hook your audience are by telling a short, personal story that your classmates can relate to, or by giving a statistic or question that fits with your theme. And never shy away from humor. A speech by James Glaser at Tufts University contained only questions , one being: “Would you believe that my 5’1” sister met her 5’4” husband in a short story class?” This would be a very funny way to begin a speech about meeting special people. 

4. Write a thank-you paragraph

Now your audience is paying attention, it’s time for gratitude. Thank your teachers and other staff at the school who have made a difference and tell an anecdote about someone to personalize this. 

Example: “I know I speak on behalf of all of my classmates when I thank the catering staff, who have made sure we fuel our brains with more than just fries and soda during exam times.”

Now’s the time to thank the families in the audience too. You can do a personal shout-out to your mom and dad, but be inclusive and remember that your classmates will have received support from a range of people. 

5. Look back and look ahead

The bulk of your speech will be spent talking about your time at the school and about how you see the future unfolding. Now is the time to focus on the theme that you chose, and to include stories about your shared experiences. 

If you chose to focus on overcoming adversity , recall a challenge you faced that you know a lot of other people did too. Share how a lesson you learned at school will help you after you leave, and remind everyone that you have learned much more than what was on the syllabus. 

Example: As Rita Moreno said, “The day you graduate, you do not arrive. This is not the end. This is the beginning for you. To graduate is to change gradually.” I know we’ve all changed so much already and we will continue to do so.

6. End your graduation speech

End with some advice and a call to action. Lots of people end with a quotation, and this can be from someone famous or from you. 


  • George Saunders said, “Do all the other things, the ambitious things—travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes…but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness.”
  • C.S. Lewis told us that “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” So let’s go find them.

Writing a great graduation speech

Beginning with a theme and an outline helps focus your speech, which should make it easier for you to write with clarity and to find the right stories and quotations to use. Telling personal stories that everyone can relate to, sprinkled with humor, is a wonderful way to keep people engaged throughout your speech. And, ending with a bang in the form of an amazing quotation will help inspire your audience and leave them feeling upbeat. 

sample writing a graduation speech

Laura Jones

Laura is a freelance writer and was an ESL teacher for eight years. She was born in the UK and has lived in Australia and Poland, where she writes blogs for Lingoda about everything from grammar to dating English speakers. She’s definitely better at the first one. She loves travelling and that’s the other major topic that she writes on. Laura likes pilates and cycling, but when she’s feeling lazy she can be found curled up watching Netflix. She’s currently learning Polish, and her battle with that mystifying language has given her huge empathy for anyone struggling to learn English. Find out more about her work in her portfolio .

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sample writing a graduation speech

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sample writing a graduation speech

How to write a great graduation speech

sample writing a graduation speech

Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology

  • By Edwin Battistella
  • May 10 th 2015

It’s graduation time at many of the nation’s schools and colleges. The commencement ceremony is a great exhalation for all involved and an annual rite of passage celebrating academic achievements. Commencement ceremonies typically feature a visiting dignitary who offers a few thousand inspirational words.

Over the years, I’ve heard more of these speeches than I care to admit and have made my own checklist of suggestions for speakers. For those of you giving commencement speeches or listening to them, here’s my advice:

1. Be just funny enough

The best speakers are knowingly wry and a bit self-deprecating. Here’s Michael Bloomberg, opening his 2014 Harvard Commencement address, with a typical opening:

I’m excited to be here, not only to address the distinguished graduates and alumni at Harvard University’s 363rd commencement but to stand in the exact spot where Oprah stood last year. OMG.

Compare that with President Kennedy, speaking at Yale in 1962, who invoked the Cambridge-New Haven rivalry to tease his hosts a bit:

Let me begin by expressing my appreciation for the very deep honor that you have conferred upon me. As General de Gaulle occasionally acknowledges America to be the daughter of Europe, so I am pleased to come to Yale, the daughter of Harvard. It might be said now that I have the best of both worlds, a Harvard education and a Yale degree.

Then again, presidents can get away with that sort of thing, but most speakers can’t.

2. Be like Shakespeare


Keep the diversity of your audience in mind. You are speaking to students, but the students are not all the same.  There are honor students—summa, magna, and cum laude–as well as those who are still sweating out a few grades. You are also speaking to families and to the university faculty.  Shakespeare had that same problem—needing to address those in the Lord’s room, the galleries, and the ground pit. He solved it by repeating himself, expressing ideas in both the Latinate phrases and in plain Anglo-Saxon, as when he combined unfamiliar words like incarnadine with familiar ones like red .

Here is Ellen DeGeneres, giving the commencement speech at Tulane in 2009. Talking about the honorary degree she is receiving, she plays with the languages of her audience:

I thought that you had to be a famous alumnus – alumini – aluminum – alumis – you had to graduate from this school.

She speaks to both the people who are not quite sure of the singular of alumni , and to those who are.

3. Think about bite-sized ideas

Your speech is likely to come up as a topic of discussion later in the day at lunch or dinner, if only to deflect attention from other topics like job interviews and loan repayment. What will the different audiences take away from your speech? What will students say when Grandma asks, “So what did you think of the speaker?”

As you develop your theme, try to have a memorable, quotable line for each segment of your audience—the grads, the families, and the faculty. And remember that your audience can’t rewind your speech or mark it with a yellow highlighter, so be sure to illustrate your easily-recognizable theme with smaller, easily-digestable examples.

Neil de Grasse Tyson did this in his 2012 speech at Western New England University.  His theme was the prevalence of fuzzy thinking and the desire for choices rather than fresh thought. He touched on the theme repeatedly, with examples ranging from a lunch date with his sister, to a spelling bee, to a job interview, throwing in an allusion to Plato (for the faculty) and ending up with the point that thinking is painful hard work. Journalist Sharyn Alfonsi also did it in her commencement address to the journalism school at Ole Miss in 2013, as she talked about work and perseverance, and illustrated those values through her own career’s challenges, including job applications, tough days, and bad bosses. Choose examples that everyone can relate to and can talk about over lunch.

4. Avoid the “Real World” and other clichés

Be careful when using clichés in your speech. Tempting as it may be to tell the graduates that they are about to enter the “Real World” (where you have thrived), you should avoid that. Savvy students will see you as out of touch, since many of them have been working all along and are often managing any number of real life issues.

You may want to avoid talking about the value of their education as well. They know the value. That’s why they went to college. (It’s the cost they are worried about.)

And don’t tell them they are going to die. What if someone had just died on campus? Steve Jobs could get away with talking about death at Stanford in 2005 (“And yet death is the destination we all share”), but he had cheated death at the time.

On a rare occasion, though, you can subvert the clichés. Jon Stewart, speaking at William and Mary in 2004, presents the so-called “Real World” this way:

Let’s talk about the “Real World” for a moment… I don’t really know to put this, so I’ll be blunt: we broke it… But here’s the good news: you fix this thing, you’re the next greatest generation, people.


David Foster Wallace took the liberal arts cliché by the horns in his 2005 speech at Kenyon College, telling the audience:

So let’s talk about the single most pervasive cliché in the commencement speech genre, which is that a liberal arts education is not so much about filling you up with knowledge as it is about “teaching you how to think.”

Wallace then used that to suggest a new perspective—that education is about choosing what to think about.

And screenwriter Joss Whedon, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, tricked up the death theme at Wesleyan in 2013, opening with a reference to the horror genre and the live-life-to-the-fullest cliché:

What I’d like to say to all of you is that you are all going to die.

5. Keep it short

Unless you are a national leader using the speech to announce a major policy, you won’t need more than 20 minutes, tops. Twelve minutes would be even better. The average speaker reads about 120 words a minute, so that’s about 1,400-2,400 words or 9-15 pages (double spaced, 16 point font). Sitting in the sun, the students, families, and faculty will all appreciate brevity.

Here is Poet Laureate Billy Collins speaking at Colorado College in 2008:

I am going to speak for 13 minutes. I think you deserve to know that this will be a finite experience. It is well-known in the world of public speaking that there is no pleasure you can give an audience that compares to the pleasure they get when it is over, so you can look forward to experiencing that pleasure 13 minutes from now.

One of the most memorable commencement addresses at my institution was given by a retired speech professor, Leon Mulling. It was just one-minute long, consisted entirely of verbs (Go. Do. Create. Laugh. Love. Live . ) and received thunderous applause.

6. Above all: relax and enjoy yourself

To do well as a commencement speaker, you need gentle humor, Shakespearean universal accessibility, something memorable for each audience, both a theme and relatable examples, an awareness of clichés, and brevity. And if it makes you nervous to think that college graduates, families, faculty, and even YouTube will be scoring your speech, remember—there’ll be another commencement speaker up on the stage next year.

Image Credit: “Graduation Day” by Md saad andalib. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr .

Edwin L. Battistella teaches linguistics and writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he has served as a dean and as interim provost. He is the author of Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology  (OUP, 2014),  Do You Make These Mistakes in English? (OUP, 2009), Bad Language (OUP, 2005), and The Logic of Markedness (OUP, 1996).


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sample writing a graduation speech

Recent Comments

Very good advice and a fun article to read. My graduation speaker 45 years ago was the president of an African country and he spoke about something relating to Africa. It was memorable. The “it” was the weather that afternoon. It was hot and humid and the gowns were an extra layer on top of regular clothes. Oh, the campus political environment was also memorable. I wore an “equal” sign stenciled on a white cloth armband, urging equal admissions of men and women; the university was concerned that admitting more women would reduce long term importance of the college (useless nonworking women) plus eventual lower alumni donations. Oh, yes, and there was Carling Black Label beer at the reception afterward, chosen because it was donated by an alumnus. My father attended. My girlfriend’s parents were there, watching her graduate, and they had some suspicions about us, but thought we were being really careful. Yeah, that was pretty much it.

I loved it thanks

Really good

I will be a commencement speaker this spring at a Pennsylvania university and I thought your article was a great start for me as I prepare. Thanks!

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  • EXPLORE Random Article

How to Write a Graduation Speech

Last Updated: July 24, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by Patrick Muñoz . Patrick is an internationally recognized Voice & Speech Coach, focusing on public speaking, vocal power, accent and dialects, accent reduction, voiceover, acting and speech therapy. He has worked with clients such as Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria, and Roselyn Sanchez. He was voted LA's Favorite Voice and Dialect Coach by BACKSTAGE, is the voice and speech coach for Disney and Turner Classic Movies, and is a member of Voice and Speech Trainers Association. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 40,611 times.

If you are giving a graduation speech you should take your time to write a speech with your specific audience in mind that conveys a message you care about and that shows your personality! Making a worthwhile speech takes time researching, writing, editing and rehearsing, but if you put in the right effort your work will pay off and make your graduation all the more memorable. Above all, care about what you say. For example, David Foster Wallace deeply believed that school should not teach you what to think. He thought that school should teach you the freedom to decide how to think, and he gave an inspirational speech to Kenyon College in 2007 that is still being written about and talk about today. [1] X Research source

Considering the Practical Things

Step 1 Ask about the details of the program.

  • It is often important that you thank certain individuals in your speech. This may mean the dean and special faculty, for example, so ask about how to address these individuals, including how to say their names.

Step 2 Write a speech that appeals to everyone in your audience.

  • For example, David Foster Wallace's speech he chose to talk about not getting involved in the rat race but deciding to ignore the pressure of the world that tells you you must make lots of money and buy lots of things. Even though this speech is for the students, anyone can relate to the rat race and high expectations from the world to succeed to make lots of money just to spend it all.
  • Write down a list of the different groups of students you might want to consider: honors students, athletes, students who know what they are doing after graduation, students who do not know what they are doing, etc. Make sure in your speech that you aren't assuming that all the students in attendance are attending college, if that is note the case.
  • You don’t have to make your speech generic or overly general because you are writing for to a wide audience. Pick a universal theme, and you can consider adding parts to your speech that will speak to the different groups, if you like. If your theme is broad enough, like overcoming adversity through perseverance, you don't need to worry about making it appeal to different audiences. Everyone can relate to overcoming hard times.
  • Make sure that your vocabulary is varied and diverse. Try not to alienate anyone in your audience. For example, if you use the word ¨benevolent" to describe your teacher, as in ¨Mr. Garcia was such a benevolent teacher¨, you can follow it up with a description that will show the meaning of the word, ¨he was always so good to us, he let us play card games in his classroom at lunch¨. [2] X Research source

Step 3 Ask about how long your speech should be.

  • If your speech is for a smaller audience or for a less formal affair, you may want to ask about how long the past graduation speeches have gone. Perhaps the speech should be shorter, around five minutes or less.
  • Remember, too, that your speech may feel a lot longer or shorter than it actually is. If you want communicate effectively, try slowing down your speech. This might mean you will have less time to say what you want to say.

Step 4 Find out if there are other rules for graduation speeches.

  • Some schools may ask you to send your graduation speech to someone who will read it first to make sure it is well developed and/or appropriate for the graduation ceremony. Additionally, you may have to practice your speech with one of the staff before the ceremony.

Step 5 Ask about the speeches that went over well in the past.

  • For example, perhaps they dedicated a lot of time and effort as a class when they decorated a float that won a prize in a parade. You could consider incorporating that piece of information into your speech, like ¨It took me a lot of persistence and grit to get through that final term paper. However, it wasn't nearly as much work, or as much fun, as decorating that float with this class the night before the parade.¨
  • Do not feel compelled to replicate that speech. You can, however, use that information to help you decide what you should write about based on your own life, values and experiences.

Step 6 Give yourself plenty of time to write, edit and rehearse your speech.

  • Start working at least two to three weeks before you have to give your speech.
  • Rehearse your speech in the place where you plan on giving it, if possible. Being familiar with the surroundings should dampen any unease or nerves.

Deciding What to Talk About

Step 1 Brainstorm before you get started writing your speech.

  • Once you have ideas from talking to your friends or family or thinking about what you want to say start writing down experiences that match those ideas.
  • For example, if you were driving toward the theme that David Foster Wallace used of learning how to think instead of what to think. You might have brainstorm about a time that you decided to learn how to knit to make all of your friends and family gifts for Christmas instead of buying them gifts. Talk about how much your grandmother loved the scarf you made her and how that ended up bonding you two together. When you think back to why you care so much about making gifts instead of buying them you realize that you want to question the pressure that is put on you to spend a lot of money to buy everyone Christmas presents. That is your theme.

Step 2 Decide on a message for your speech.

  • For example, you may want to talk about how giving your time to volunteer work will end up making you a happier and healthier person.
  • Write out your most important life experiences and lessons learned, and decide what a main take away from those stories/lessons could be. For example, after working at the soup kitchen every weekend during my senior year, I learned life lessons from people I never expected to learn from. Homeless people who I saw freely give others some of their prized possessions ended up teaching me how to give freely.
  • Some examples of common themes in graduation speeches are: believing in/liking yourself, taking risks/putting yourself out there, failing is necessary for success, giving back helps you as an individual, being persistent pays off, being okay with not being perfect, overcoming adversity, good friendships save, and there are different paths to take through life/there is no one right answer. [7] X Research source
  • Giving thanks and congratulations is another style of graduation speech you can choose to write. In these graduation speeches individuals talk about all that they have come through as a class to get to graduation. They also might take more time to talk about and thank the individuals who helped them along the way.
  • These speeches tend to be less focused on giving advice and the individual giving the speech and more focused on the group as a whole. Listed here is a wikiHow article on writing a graduation thank you speech. [8] X Research source

Step 3 Read and watch really good graduation speeches to get ideas for your graduation speech.

  • See if you can pick out a few main themes in the graduation speech, usually it will not be very difficult to find because it will be repeated several times. Writing those down will help you see how they craft their speech around those ideas.
  • For example, you could take note that David Foster Wallace uses a simple metaphor to get across his main idea. He uses the metaphor of a fish being aware that he is in water as compared to a person who realizes that he is in a society that influences us to think and act. This metaphor shows us how important it is to be aware of the obvious realities of being in society that others might miss. It also how shows us how isolating it can be to be aware.
  • Likewise, think about using a similar convention, for example, a short joke or a metaphor that illustrates your main point.

Step 4 Choose a speech structure that will help you communicate your message.

  • In the first speech structure, you highlight a few, typically one to four, main take-aways, or themes. You show address those ideas through personal anecdotes or nonfiction stories to impart some wisdom to the graduating class. The people who choose this structure generally feel that they have simple, yet important wisdom that might help the graduates succeed in life. For example, Steve Jobs used this structure and told just three stories about his life. The first story he told was about how he “connected the dots” in his life. [10] X Research source
  • In the second structure, make a list of five to ten tips that you have acquired that you give as advice to the graduating class. If you had trouble honing in on one to three themes or take-aways, this might be a good option for you. You can highlight important things that are both big and small in this kind of speech. For example, an admiral gave a speech about the ten essential life tips he learned from the Navy that including tips to both make your bed, and never, ever give up. [11] X Research source
  • In the third, you tell a condensed version of your life story. Go for this option if you feel like you have a very powerful personal story that illustrates some important ideas about how to be successful or how to overcome adversity. You don’t have to start with the beginning of your life, instead talk about the important things that have made you who you are. For example, music producer Jimmy Iovine used this structure and started his speech by talking about a rebuke John Landau gave him. Jon said, ¨this is not about you¨, and that advise gave Jimmy the courage to keep working when his ego was fed up. [12] X Research source
  • In the last speech structure, you develop one main idea as an argument and use observations from life, your personal history, etc., to support this main idea. This option is good if you are really passionate about conveying one central idea to your audience that you are entirely convinced needs to be heard by everyone. This is perhaps the most difficult speech to write because it is much like writing an argument; your ideas need to be logical and well organized. For example, David Foster Wallace follows this structure. He makes a claim that the real value of education isn’t learning what to think but gaining the freedom to choose how to think. He stays with this theme and develops his ideas like an argument. [13] X Research source

Step 5 Show your personality in your speech.

  • You can use humor to convey your personality. For example, Sumner Redstone, giving a speech to DeVry University, starts his speech with some self-deprecating humor that points out that people won't enjoy sitting through his speech. Redstone says that he is glad to go first in the program, and he quotes Mark Twain who recommends swallowing a frog at the start of the day to get the worst thing out of the way. Here Redstone makes himself the toad to make his audience laugh.

Step 6 Don’t give a speech about something unless you really believe in it.

  • Being passionate about what you are talking about will show in your delivery, as long as you practice. Speeches involve much more than the words you say, and oftentimes much more can be said through the emotions you convey when you deliver your speech. Think about all of the ways you can put emotion into a simple phrase like ¨I would die for you." A lot of meaning balances on the way you say those words.
  • Practice putting emotion into your speech to give it meaning. Rehearse what you will say in front of a mirror several times to see how you look, and don't be afraid to use gestures.

Step 7 Consider the enthusiastic mood of the occasion.

  • Because everyone has gone through a lot to get to this point, you may want to take a minute to genuinely congratulate them on their accomplishments.

Step 8 Avoid cliches.

  • You should avoid these cliches because they have been overused, and the people in your audience will most likely not be inspired by these topics. [15] X Research source
  • Do not confuse universal themes for cliches. Some of the best, most powerful speeches have very simple messages. For example, giving back helps you grow as an individual. Even though this theme that has been explored before and will be explored again, the theme still rings true and bears repeating.

Going Through the Steps in the Speech Making Process

Step 1 Organize and develop your writing into an introduction, body and conclusion.

  • After your speech you want people to be able to easily remember what you talked about so they can discuss what you said.

Step 3 Have someone else edit your speech and give you feedback.

  • Send the same person your revisions each time you make a major edit.

Step 4 Practice your speech out loud in front of others.

  • Make sure to practice your pacing, and slow down if you have a tendency to read quickly through your speech. Use a timer when you practice giving your speech in front a mirror or your family/friends.
  • Practice enough times so that you have the things you want to say internalized. This means that when you go into autopilot mode in front of an audience you will be more likely to remember because of your muscle memory. [20] X Research source
  • If you get stuck, look at someone you trust in the audience and breath deeply for a couple of seconds to calm yourself down while you try to collect your thoughts.

Expert Q&A

Patrick Muñoz

  • Practice out loud until you have internalized the essential parts of your speech. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Remember to write a speech that will speak to everyone in your audience. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0
  • Find someone who knows about writing or speech making to help you edit your speech. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0

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  • ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-mcguinness/david-foster-wallaces-bri_b_3239411.html
  • ↑ http://blog.oup.com/2015/05/how-to-write-graduation-speech/
  • ↑ http://www.graduationwisdom.com/speeches/how-to-write-a-graduation-speech.htm
  • ↑ Patrick Muñoz. Voice & Speech Coach. Expert Interview. 12 November 2019.
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/brainstorming/
  • ↑ https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Graduation-Thank-You-Speech
  • ↑ http://www.graduationwisdom.com/speeches/0014-jobs.htm
  • ↑ http://www.graduationwisdom.com/speeches/0149-Admiral-McRaven-Best-Commencement-Speeches-2014.htm
  • ↑ http://www.graduationwisdom.com/speeches/0140-Jimmy-Iovine-Commencement-Speech-at-University-of-Southern-California-2013.htm
  • ↑ http://www.graduationwisdom.com/speeches/0015-wallace.htm
  • ↑ http://www.jostens.com/grad/grad_cp_hs_grad_guide_graduation_speech.html

About this article

Patrick Muñoz

To write a graduation speech, choose a structure that will help to communicate your message. For example, you could highlight a few main themes through personal anecdotes or nonfiction stories. Alternatively, you could make a list of 5 to 10 tips that you want to advise the graduating class about. If you have an interesting or powerful personal story, you can use it to illustrate important ideas, such as overcoming adversity or becoming successful. To learn how to show your personality in your speech, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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24 Graduation Speeches: Speeches You Give in Pointy Hats

A picture of a graduate and his grandfather

Graduation is a big day for graduates, their families, and teachers. If you are called to give a graduation speech, you want to make it special.  I want to share with you what makes a good graduation speech and give you tips on how to write one that will make an impact.

As we begin, you need to wrap your mind around two main things:

  • Most people do not remember the graduation speeches they hear, but they do remember the feeling they got in the moment–inspired, bored, challenged.
  • The more you tap into shared memories, the more meaningful the speech will be for those listening.

There are two main types of graduation speakers, the student speaker, and the headline speaker. At one college at our university, there is a speech contest to be the graduation speaker and at another college, it is someone who has been nominated by a faculty member. How you get there varies from place to place At the local high school, the valedictorian is often the speaker. I recently went to high school graduation and they had seven valedictorians so they had seven speakers–yes, it was as long as you can imagine.

When thinking about giving a graduation speech, you have to ask, “What does the audience need from me?” They need you to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and focus on the future. This chapter will walk you through the essentials of giving a graduation speech and then give you several example speeches as samples of key elements.

Gather the Details

  • How long will you speak?
  • Who will be in attendance?
  • Who will introduce you?
  • Are you the only speaker?
  • Will there be a microphone?
  • Can you use speech notes?
  • Brainstorm with Friends

This is the fun part. Sit down with friends and make a list of all the things that come to mind about the college experience. When brainstorming, write down everything you think of and don’t try to judge whether it should be included, just go with it.  There is an entire chapter on how to brainstorm here. 

  • Food, dining halls, local restaurants
  • Hangouts on campus
  • Social events
  • Notable classes
  • Significant memories
  • Current events
  • Shared college experiences (on our campus it might be buying scantrons, hearing the bells of Old Main, and using Blackboard.

Organizational Format

Most all student graduation speeches include the past, present, and future format.

  • Present: Opening statement and the thank you.
  • Past: The shared memory.
  • Future: The challenge and a closing statement.

Manuscript Format

Most student graduation speeches are in manuscript format. That helps you from getting overwhelmed at the moment and that also gives the school a chance to censor– I mean to approve of–your content. There is an entire chapter on writing a manuscript that you can refer to here. 

Pick a Theme

Many graduation speeches use a theme. Here are some of the most common graduation themes.

It can be helpful to pick a theme and connect a metaphor to your theme. There is an entire chapter on how to do that here. 

“There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to push you in another direction.” Oprah Winfrey, Harvard University Commencement Speech

Start Your Speech with an Introduction

Most introductions acknowledge the occasion, offer thanks, and lead into the main idea. Shutterfly suggests these as openings.

  • “Thank you [person who introduced you]. And thank you to the students, teachers, parents, and staff who made these four years everything that they were.”
  • “It’s my honor today to deliver the commencement address for this incredible student body.”
  • “It is my pleasure to welcome students, families, and faculty to graduation day at [school’s name]. Every one of you has made an impact on the graduates who sit here today.”
  • “I stand here before you, looking back on four years of legacy we’ve all made together.”

Use the Principles of Good Ceremonial Speaking

I have written a chapter on each component of ceremonial speaking and you can reference those you need:

  • Tell a story
  • Use identification, narration, and magnification
  • Use colorful language
  • Use metaphor, simile,  and theme
  • Put your speech in manuscript format

Look for Stories that Celebrate Common Experiences

Notice how Jaclyn Marston reflects on specific classes and memories. (Watch starting at .54 seconds).

Watch how Lin Manuel Miranda references the familiar and the obscure in his address to the University of Pennsylvania (start watching at 1:12).

Use a Theme

Notice how she uses the theme–“What do you want to be” when you grow up and alters it to  “What do you want to do?” She opens with this and wraps back around to this same idea at the end.

Be Vulnerable

Notice how this speaker admits his shortcomings. We feel like he is honest and vulnerable so we hang on his everyword.

Headline Speaker Sample Speeches

Headline speakers are usually someone famous or notable. Speeches by those individuals almost always include stories and challenges. I have included several here. Pick two of them to analyze.

Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories. Steve Jobs

These highlights of Lou Holtz’s graduation speech is full of great challenges and life lessons.

Tim Minchin

“One: Be micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you. You never know where you might end up.

Two: Don’t seek happiness. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy and you might find you get some as a side effect.

Three:  Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.

Four: Exercise. Take care of your body: you’re going to need it.

Five: Be hard on your opinions. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privileges.

Six: Even if you’re not a teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education.

Seven: Define yourself by what you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro stuff not just anti stuff.

Eight: Respect people with less power than you.

Nine: Finally, don’t rush. You don’t need to know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.”

As you can see, graduation speeches can be serious or lighthearted; they can be personal, motivational, and informative. The key thing is that the speech should be authentic. It should be as unique as the speaker.

Key Takeaways

Remember This!

  • Graduation speeches should reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and inspire towards the future.
  • Consider the needs of the audience and find commonalities.
  • Tell a story.
  • Use a manuscript.

Bonus Features

Jaclyn Marson describes the process of how she wrote her Graduation Speech.

Dunham, A. (2019). Valedictorian comes out as autistic during speech. [Video] YouTube.  https://youtu.be/GtPGrLoU5Uk Standard YouTube License

Holtz, L. (2017). Lou Holtz’s inspirational speech. Commencement speech.[Video] YouTube.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3LOo_Ccyws Standard YouTube License

Jobs, S. (2008). Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address. [Video] YouTube.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc Standard YouTube License.

Jostens, (n.d.).  Celebrate high school memories. Inspire your grad community. https://www.jostens.com/resources/students-and-parents/graduation-guides/how-to-write-a-grad-speech

Marson, J. (2020). How to write an amazing graduation speech–Jaclyn Marson podcast Ep 1. [Video] YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5CUSzp9SrM Standard YouTube License.

Marston, J. (2016). Beautiful and moving graduation speech 2016. [Video] YouTube.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F3K3Z_5CEE Standard YouTube License.

Minchin, T. (2013). 9 life lessons-Time Minchin UWA Address. [Video] YouTube.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoEezZD71sc Standard YouTube License.

Rosen, L. (2019). Leah Rosen: “The power of this place,” Duke University 2019 commencement student speaker. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4N Standard YouTube License.

Shutterfly. (n.d) How to start a graduation speech. https://www.shutterfly.com/ideas/graduation-speech/

Stewart, M.  (2020). Student speaker. Commencement 2020. University of Utah. [Video] YouTube.   h ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZFJnZvuQIo Standard YouTube License.

University of Pennsylvania. (2016). Penn’s 2016 commencement ceremony- Commencement speaker Lin-Manuel Miranda. [Video] YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewHcsFlolz4&t=0s Standard YouTube License.

Media Attributions

  • Graduation Photo © Lynn Meade is licensed under a CC BY (Attribution) license

Advanced Public Speaking Copyright © 2021 by Lynn Meade is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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16 Best Graduation Speeches That Leave a Lasting Impression

By Kristi Kellogg and Noor Brara

Listen to words of wisdom from the best graduation speeches.

Some of the most impactful and inspiring sentiments are shared during graduation speeches delivered by the leaders we look up to. Graduation speeches from celebrities , entrepreneurs, authors and other influential thinkers are motivational, inspiring, thought-provoking and just might make you reach for the nearest tissue. After four years of hard work, stress, and exhausting self-discovery, lucky graduates are privy to a life-changing speech to top it all off.

Here, we rounded up up 16 of the best graduation speeches of all time, including words of wisdom from Natalie Portman, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and more.

1. Steve Jobs: Stanford, 2005

"You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it."

2. Michelle Obama: Tuskegee University, 2015

"I've found that this journey has been incredibly freeing. Because no matter what happened, I had the piece of mind knowing that all of the chatter, the name-calling, the doubting...all of it was just noise. It did not define me, it didn't change who I was, and most importantly, it couldn't hold me back."

3. Natalie Portman: Harvard, 2015

"I just directed my first film. I was completely unprepared, but my own ignorance to my own limitations looked like confidence and got me into the director's chair. Once there, I had to figure it all out, and my belief that I could handle these things, contrary to all evidence of my ability to do so was half the battle. The other half was very hard work. The experience was the deepest and most meaningful one of my career."

4. Amy Poehler: Harvard University, 2011

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"What I have discovered is this: You can't do it alone … Listen. Say 'yes.' Live in the moment. Make sure you play with people who have your back. Make big choices early and often."

5. Meryl Streep: Barnard College, 2010

"This is your time and it feels normal to you but really there is no normal. There's only change, and resistance to it and then more change."

6. David Foster Wallace: Kenyon College, 2005

"Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. Think of the old cliché about quote the mind being an excellent servant but a terrible master."

7. Barack Obama: Howard University, 2016

"You have to go through life with more than just passion for change; you need a strategy. I’ll repeat that. I want you to have passion, but you have to have a strategy. Not just awareness, but action. Not just hashtags, but votes."

8. Kerry Washington: George Washington University, 2013

"You and you alone are the only person who can live the life that can write the story that you were meant to tell."

9. Conan O'Brien: Dartmouth College, 2011

"There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized. Today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality … Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen."

10. J.K. Rowling: Harvard, 2008

"I stopped pretending to be anything than what I was. My greatest fear had been realized. I had an old typewriter and a big idea. Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."

11. Oprah Winfrey: Harvard University, 2013

"Learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter, and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are. And then figure out what is the next right move. And the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional G.P.S. that can tell you which way to go."

12. Joss Whedon: Wesleyan University, 2013

"You have, which is a rare thing, that ability and the responsibility to listen to the dissent in yourself, to at least give it the floor, because it is the key—not only to consciousness–but to real growth. To accept duality is to earn identity. And identity is something that you are constantly earning. It is not just who you are. It is a process that you must be active in. It's not just parroting your parents or the thoughts of your learned teachers. It is now more than ever about understanding yourself so you can become yourself."

13. George Saunders: Syracuse University, 2013

"Do all the other things, the ambitious things … Travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop)—but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness."

14. Nora Ephron: Wellesley College, 1996

"Be the heroine of your life, not the victim."

15. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Wellesley College, 2015

"As you graduate, as you deal with your excitement and your doubts today, I urge you to try and create the world you want to live in. Minister to the world in a way that can change it. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get your hands dirty way."

16. Admiral William H. McRaven: University of Texas at Austin, 2014

"If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right."

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Student Graduation Speech

Student Graduation Speech

A graduation ceremony marks a pivotal moment, offering a blend of joy, nostalgia, and anticipation for the future. Crafting a memorable student graduation speech can be challenging, but it’s an opportunity to inspire and reflect. This comprehensive guide provides detailed insights and practical tips to help you create an impactful address. Filled with inspiring speech examples , it’s tailored to guide you through the process of composing a speech that resonates with your audience and leaves a lasting impression. Whether you’re seeking to inspire, reminisce, or motivate, our guide, complete with speech examples, is your go-to resource for delivering a message that captures the essence of this significant milestone.

What is a Student Graduation Speech? A Student Graduation Speech is a special talk given by a student during a graduation ceremony. It’s a moment where the student shares their experiences, celebrates achievements, and gives thanks to teachers, family, and friends. The speech often includes memories from school, lessons learned, and hopes for the future. It’s a way for the student to say goodbye to one chapter of their life and welcome the next with excitement and optimism. This speech is a memorable part of the graduation ceremony, marking the end of school and the beginning of a new journey.

In addition to that, a student graduation speech is also a good way to show or to tell students that they have finally achieved what they wanted in life. Basically the purpose of a student graduation speech is to make sure that each student knows what their professors and other students feel during this time. Graduation speeches can sometimes get very emotional, depending on who may be presenting the speech and how it was delivered. Often than not, it is considered normal for a lot of people to be very emotional when presenting a student graduation speech. To know about how to write one, let’s move on to how to write a good student graduation speech.

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This is especially true for those who are graduating this year or for those who are going to be passing through and going forward. For students, this is the best day of their lives, the freedom, the path to choose what they can want and can get. However, when there is graduation, there is always that one thing students seem to not be able to escape. Making a graduation speech. Of course, a lot of students would say this is going to be easy now because of the practice they went through. But how do you make a good graduation speech? Where do you even begin? Am I confusing you? Don’t worry, I got you covered.

Student Graduation Speech Format


Greeting : Start with a warm welcome to guests, teachers, family, and fellow graduates. Personal Introduction : Briefly introduce yourself. Acknowledgment of the Occasion : Express the significance of the graduation day.
Reflections on the Journey : Share memorable experiences and lessons learned during school years. Memories : Highlight special moments and achievements. Challenges Overcome : Discuss obstacles faced and how they were overcome. Gratitude : Express thanks to teachers, family, and friends for their support. Current Feelings : Talk about emotions associated with graduating, like excitement, nostalgia, or anticipation for the future. Lessons Learned : Share valuable insights or life lessons gained during school years.

Future Outlook

Hopes and Dreams : Discuss aspirations and goals for the future. Call to Action : Encourage fellow graduates to pursue their dreams with determination and courage. Inspirational Message : Offer a motivational thought or quote to inspire the graduating class.
Closing Remarks : Summarize the key points of your speech. Final Thanks : Express gratitude to the audience for listening. Farewell Message : End with a heartfelt farewell, wishing everyone success in their future endeavors.

Best Graduation Speech

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honored Guests, Teachers, Family, and my Fellow Graduates,   Today marks a pivotal moment in our lives. As I stand here, I am overwhelmed with memories and emotions. Our journey through these halls has been nothing short of remarkable.   Firstly, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our dedicated teachers and school staff. Your unwavering support and guidance have been our guiding star. To our families, your love and sacrifices have shaped us into the individuals we are today. Your belief in our dreams has been our strongest foundation.   Looking back, our school years were filled with learning, not just from textbooks, but from every experience. We learned the value of friendship, the importance of hard work, and the power of perseverance. We celebrated victories, learned from our failures, and grew stronger with each challenge.   But today is not just about reminiscing. It’s about embracing the future. As we step out into the world, let’s carry the lessons and memories with us. Let’s approach the future with courage and optimism, ready to make our mark and create positive change.   In closing, I leave you with this thought: Let’s not just dream about the future; let’s be the architects of it. As we go forth, may we always remember where we came from and who we are. To my fellow graduates, congratulations! Our adventure begins now.   Thank You.

Student Graduation Speech [Text Version]

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed faculty members, distinguished guests, and beloved family and friends,   On this momentous occasion, I stand before you with a heart brimming with gratitude and excitement. As we gather here to celebrate our achievements, I am deeply humbled by the journey that has led us to this significant milestone.   Reflecting on our collective journey, it is undeniable that our relentless hard work, unwavering dedication, and steadfast perseverance have been the driving forces behind our success. Each step we’ve taken, every challenge we’ve faced, has molded us into the individuals we are today.   As we reminisce on the past years, let us cherish the memories we’ve created together. From late-night study sessions to unforgettable experiences shared, these moments have woven the fabric of our unique and remarkable journey as a graduating class.   Throughout our academic pursuits, we have not only gained knowledge but also nurtured personal and professional growth. The challenges we encountered along the way have been formidable, but through resilience and teamwork, we have emerged stronger and more determined than ever.   To our esteemed educators, mentors, and dedicated school staff, we owe a profound debt of gratitude. Your guidance, wisdom, and unwavering support have been instrumental in shaping our paths and fueling our aspirations.   To our cherished family members and friends, thank you for being our pillars of strength, unwavering sources of encouragement, and constant sources of love and support. Your belief in us has been our greatest motivation.   As we stand on the threshold of the future, let us embrace the infinite possibilities that lie ahead. Let us nurture our dreams, pursue our passions, and strive to make a positive impact on the world around us. Remember, learning is a lifelong journey, and our thirst for knowledge should never cease.   In the words of the great philosopher Aristotle, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” Let us carry the lessons, memories, and friendships we’ve cultivated during our time here as we embark on the next chapter of our lives.   So, my fellow graduates, as we bid farewell to this chapter and step into the vast unknown, let us do so with courage, conviction, and unwavering determination. For the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.   Congratulations to the graduating class of [Year]! May our paths be filled with success, fulfillment, and endless possibilities. Thank you.

16+ Student Graduation Speech Examples

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How to Write a Student Graduation Speech?

Are you tasked to write a student graduation speech or are you simply curious as to how a student graduation speech looks and how it is written. Regardless of the reason, and if you are interested, here are some five simple tips to get you started on writing. How to write a student graduation speech?

1. Always Introduce Yourself to the Crowd

When you get up on that stage, thank the person who made the speech or who made the introduction first. Do this before reading your speech. It is seen as something polite and should be done. In addition to that, introduce yourself whether the person before you did or did not. Never assume that everyone in the crowd knows you. Remember, the people in the crowd are a mixture of students, your classmates, teachers, faculty and parents. There is only a few percent chance they can remember you or know you.

2. Share Your Experience in a Story

Another thing you can do when making a speech is to share your experience in the form of a story. Let your fellow graduates feel the same thing you felt or at least at some point. Tell your story so others could learn from your struggles and from the sweet rewards of graduating. Your experience may be different from others or may have at least a few things that are common, but your experience is there to awaken what it was like for students to struggle and feel the joy of a fruitful future. Think of how you would write your own  personal statement . But the difference is it is a speech than just a  short narrative essay .

3. Add an Inspiring Quote

One of the best ways to inspire and to get through your audience is to share an inspiring quote. Your quote must match that of your speech that you need not have to explain what it means. There are a lot of inspiring quotes, but you can also make your own.

4. Give Everyone Some Good Advice

Part of your speech should also be about giving people some good advice. Especially those students who may be graduating with you who are younger. Be the big person here and show them that with a lot of sacrifices, there will always be a rainbow after every thunderstorm. A brighter side of things. However, make it that they would find it good enough and not that they may get annoyed or disappointed. This means that when you say it, say it in a polite manner.

5. Thank Everyone for Attending the Event

Last but not the least, add graduation thank you speech to your graduation speech . Add this when you are about to end your speech. Showing that you appreciate the audience and the time they gave to attend the graduation. Saying this would mean that your speech is done and you would want everyone to be thankful for the people who came to the said event to watch.

How does a student start a graduation speech?

1.Express Gratitude:

Start by expressing gratitude to teachers, parents, mentors, and fellow students for their support and contributions throughout the academic journey. Thanking the audience creates a positive atmosphere from the beginning.

Example: “Good evening, honored guests, teachers, parents, and my amazing fellow graduates. I stand before you today with immense gratitude in my heart for the incredible support we’ve received on this journey.”

2. Use a Quote:

Begin with a relevant and inspiring quote that encapsulates the theme of the speech. Quotes can provide depth and immediately capture the audience’s attention.

Example: “As Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ Today, we celebrate not just the end of our academic journey but the beginning of our mission to make a difference.”

3. Tell a Personal Story:

Share a brief, relatable personal anecdote that connects to the overarching message of the speech. Personal stories can create an emotional connection with the audience.

Example: “Allow me to take you back to the first day of school when we were wide-eyed freshmen, feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness. Little did we know that this place would become our second home, filled with laughter, challenges, and lifelong friendships.”

4. Ask a Rhetorical Question:

Pose a thought-provoking rhetorical question that engages the audience’s curiosity and encourages them to reflect on the journey ahead.

Example: “What does it truly mean to graduate? Is it merely receiving a diploma, or is it about the knowledge gained, the friendships formed, and the transformations within ourselves? Today, we contemplate not just our achievements but the infinite possibilities that lie before us.”

5. Use Humor:

Start with a light-hearted, witty remark or humorous anecdote related to the graduation experience. Humor can instantly capture the audience’s attention and create a warm atmosphere.

Example: “Ladies and gentlemen, if someone had told me four years ago that I would be standing here giving a speech, I would have thought they were joking. Yet, here I am, trying not to trip over my own excitement. Life truly is full of surprises!”

6. Acknowledge the Significance of the Moment:

Begin by acknowledging the importance of the graduation day, recognizing it as a pivotal moment in the students’ lives and the beginning of a new chapter.

Example: “Today is more than just a ceremony; it’s a milestone. It marks the culmination of years of hard work, late-night study sessions, and the unwavering determination that brought us to this moment. Today, we stand on the threshold of a future waiting to be shaped by our dreams and ambitions.”

What should I say in my high school graduation speech?

1. Introduction

Begin by expressing gratitude to the school, teachers, parents, and fellow students. Acknowledge the significance of the moment and the honor of addressing the graduating class.

2. Reflect on the Journey

Share personal reflections on your high school experience. Discuss memorable moments, challenges, and the growth you and your classmates have undergone.

3. Acknowledge Achievements

Recognize the accomplishments of your fellow graduates, including academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and personal growth.

4. Inspire and Encourage

Offer words of inspiration and encouragement to your peers as they embark on the next phase of their lives. Remind them of their potential and resilience.

5. Share Life Lessons

Reflect on the lessons learned during high school, both in and out of the classroom. Discuss how these lessons can be applied to the future.

6. Embrace Diversity:

Celebrate the diversity and unique qualities of your graduating class. Highlight the importance of inclusivity and understanding in a diverse world.

7. Discuss the Future:

Talk about the exciting possibilities and challenges that await graduates as they move on to college, careers, or other pursuits.

8. Express Hope and Optimism:

Convey optimism for the future, emphasizing the potential for positive change and personal growth. Inspire your peers to make a difference in the world.

9. Use Personal Anecdotes:

Share personal stories or anecdotes that connect with the audience and convey your messages effectively.

10. Conclude with Gratitude:

Thank your audience once again for the privilege of speaking and express your optimism about the future.

How do you write a short and sweet graduation speech?

  • Start with Gratitude: Begin by expressing gratitude to the school, teachers, parents, and fellow graduates for the support and experiences throughout the journey.
  • Acknowledge Achievements: Recognize the accomplishments and milestones of your graduating class, both academic and personal.
  • Reflect on the Journey: Share a brief reflection on your high school experience, mentioning memorable moments and challenges.
  • Inspire and Encourage: Offer a concise message of inspiration and encouragement for your peers as they step into the next chapter of their lives. Encourage them to pursue their dreams and make a positive impact.
  • Express Hope: Convey optimism and hope for the future, highlighting the potential for success and personal growth.
  • Use a Memorable Quote: Consider incorporating a well-chosen quote that encapsulates the theme of your speech.
  • Engage the Audience: Use eye contact, a confident tone, and gestures to engage the audience. Maintain a warm and inclusive atmosphere.
  • Stay True to Your Voice: Keep your speech authentic and true to your personality and values.

Here’s an example of a short and sweet graduation speech:

“Good evening, honored guests, teachers, parents, and my fellow graduates. As we stand here today on the brink of a new journey, I want to express my gratitude for the experiences and support we’ve shared throughout our high school years. Our achievements, both big and small, have brought us to this moment, and I couldn’t be prouder to call you my classmates. As we move forward, remember that every challenge we faced and overcame has shaped us into the individuals we are today. We are ready to embrace the future with open hearts and unwavering determination. As Dr. Seuss once said, ‘You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.’

Is it necessary to make a graduation speech?

Some schools require their outstanding graduates to make a graduation speech, while others may not require them. The whole purpose of the speech is to let everyone know that they have done great and should continue to do great things.

What are the elements of a good graduation speech?

The introduction where you are going to be talking about the reason you are here. The body which will be about telling a story, an anecdote, sharing of experiences and hope for the future. It is also the part where you give way to inspire others to keep on pushing their dreams. The conclusion where you give thanks and congratulate on everyone for achieving.

What are the benefits of writing a graduation speech?

The benefits of writing a graduation speech is the opportunity to say thank you and welcome at the same time. To give everyone the opportunity to say we made it in one simple but grand speech. Making a graduation speech is the written and oral way of showing the world that you have made it and will continue to make it.

Why do we need a graduation speech example?

Sometimes, the process of making the perfect speech outline involves long nights and a lot of crumpled papers. We’re either experiencing major writer’s block or we’re just absolutely clueless on what to talk about. Regardless, writing a good speech is not an easy job. Sometimes, we just need a little guidance to get started. This is when references serve their purpose.

How long is a graduation speech?

A graduation speech does not have to be too long nor too short. A single page is enough to make a speech. If the speech is too long, your audience may fall asleep or choose to ignore as it may drag. But if the speech is too short, it may leave an awkward air around the whole event. Make sure that your speech should not last more than five minutes nor less than that.

Graduation speeches can either get very emotional or can be made as a polite way to say thank you. Depending on who writes it and how it is written. It is normal to cry when you’re doing your speech, but it is not okay to not make any eye contact.

Graduation speeches are more than just words; they are the encapsulation of an educational journey, filled with challenges, achievements, and invaluable lessons. They are a platform to inspire, encourage, and impart wisdom to fellow graduates and the audience. As you craft your speech, remember the impact of your words can extend beyond the ceremony, leaving a lasting impression on your listeners. To further explore inspiring examples and advice on crafting impactful graduation speeches, consider visiting the American Institute for Economic Research for a unique perspective on graduation speeches here and the University of Chicago for a collection of student graduation speeches here. These resources offer additional insights and inspiration that can enhance your speechwriting process.

sample writing a graduation speech

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How to Write a High School Graduation Speech (+ Examples)

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Amanda Green was born in a small town in the west of Scotland, where everyone knows everyone. I joined the Toastmasters 15 years ago, and I served in nearly every office in the club since then. I love helping others gain confidence and skills they can apply in every day life.

I was in several clubs in high school, I was the valedictorian, and I happened to be the youngest in our graduating class. Needless to say, I had to write and give more than one speech at our graduation.

Being asked to give a graduation speech in high school is a tremendous honor and responsibility. It takes a lot of preparation, from planning to writing and editing your speech.

My guide should show you how to write a graduation speech for high school, especially with the examples I’ve included. Follow the template and tips, and you’re sure to receive a standing ovation from your audience.

How Long Is a High School Graduation Speech?

sample writing a graduation speech

The best high school graduation speeches aren’t long and boring since the ceremonies already take hours. Aim for an address that doesn’t exceed 10 minutes. Keep your audience’s attention and save some for other people’s speeches.

Your graduation speech should only be around 500 to 600 words. You have to read it slowly and articulate the words clearly. One way to keep it shorter is by removing cliches and other unnecessary content.

High School Graduation Speech Template

Essays and speeches usually have three parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. Here is a structure you can follow for a memorable high school graduation speech.


  • Thank people for attending. Acknowledge the presence of your teachers, parents, and fellow graduates.
  • Introduce yourself. Not everyone in the room knows you, even if you’re the class valedictorian.
  • Catch the audience’s attention by sharing a motivational quote or saying. Your personal narratives and advice will later be based on this saying.
  • Recall memorable high school experiences. Anything is worth sharing, whether it’s a simple day in class or your debate competition.
  • Encourage classmates not to forget these beautiful memories.
  • Share helpful advice for this new chapter of their lives.
  • Restate the quote or saying you mentioned in the introduction.
  • End with a call to action that will encourage the graduates to make a difference.
  • Thank the audience for hearing you out.

How to Write a Graduation Speech for High School

sample writing a graduation speech

Public speaking takes a lot of preparation. Here are some tips you should follow when writing and delivering a graduation speech for high school.

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Pick a Theme

Inspirational high school graduation speeches leave a mark on people. If you want to create one, try building it around a central message.

Think about everything you experienced in high school and look for patterns. Was high school about learning from mistakes? Or was it about achieving big dreams with small steps? Consider not only what is essential to you but also what is important for your fellow graduates.

Once you have picked a theme, selecting a quote, including advice, and recalling high school memories will be much easier. Here are some popular themes you can consider using for yours, but make sure to choose ones that are relevant to you and/or your class.

  • Embracing failure
  • Big things take time
  • Achieving big dreams with small steps
  • Facing change with grace
  • Overcoming adversity
  • Becoming a lifelong learner
  • Being more intentional and responsible for your future

Begin With Gratitude and a Self-Introduction

Once you step on stage, you must start with a few formalities. Know the name of the previous speakers and acknowledge their excellent speeches. Then, thank everyone in attendance, including the teachers, parents, and fellow students.

Say it’s a privilege to speak before the audience on this special day. This is also the best time to introduce yourself.

Don’t assume that everyone in the room knows who you are. State your name and why you were tasked to create the speech. Below is an example.

“Thank you, Mr. Jones, for the wonderful speech. And thank you to the parents, teachers, staff, and fellow graduates in this room who have made the past four years unforgettable. It’s a pleasure to stand in front of everyone and represent the class of 2022 at this address. I am [name], your class valedictorian.”

Make It About Everybody But You

Your graduation speech is not a mini-biography of your accomplishments. Only sprinkle a few personal anecdotes, then include what the four years of high school have been like for the other students. Below is an example.

“Four years ago, we were freshmen walking through the doors of [school name]. While some of us want to be doctors, artists, engineers, and singers in the future, we all had one goal in mind during that time: to leave a mark on the school in the next four years.”

Recall High School Memories

Tap the ceremony’s nostalgia by recalling important events from the past four years. You can include prom, school fairs, and even mundane scenarios. Include hardships, such as the sudden shift to online classes during the pandemic.

If you are a valedictorian , you should know which memories everyone treasures. Try interviewing some of your peers about their best high school memories. Below is an example.

“Every batch of graduates from [school] has a common core memory. For us, it was probably prom 2022. Instead of getting our beauty sleep the night before the dance, everyone stayed in school until 8 PM because of the last-minute changes. While that experience was full of pressure and chaos, we look back on that memory remembering teamwork and dedication.”

Share Advice

Your advice is the most crucial part of the speech. It serves as a call to action the students will follow in the future.

Make sure to keep it positive and remind everyone that anything is possible. You can also advise them to advocate for others and treat everyone equally.

Here’s an example showing what I mean.

“The future is uncertain, and the only thing we can do is be optimistic about it. We learned to stay determined in the past four years, so we can do it again throughout college or our careers.”

Incorporate Your Personality

Just because you’re speaking for the rest of the class and following an outline doesn’t mean your speech should be boring. You can still infuse your personality through humor, anecdotes , and life experiences.

You can also open your address with something funny, as long as it’s appropriate and timely. If you’re a valedictorian, self-deprecating humor will be a hit. Try adding quirky memories from classes that will immerse your audience.

Leave Your Audience Inspired

You are not at the graduation to merely receive your diploma. As a speaker, you need to leave your audience inspired on the next chapter of their lives. Encourage them to find their purpose and make a difference in the world.

Some speakers end their speeches with another quote. Here is the one I used in my high school speech, but there are tons to be found on the internet you can use that might better suit your needs.

  • “All our dreams can come true… if we have the courage to pursue them.” — Walt Disney

Finally, thank everyone for taking the time to listen to your speech. Express gratitude toward your classmates for the memories over the last four years.

Proofread Your Work

Read your writing out loud and fix parts that don’t sound pleasing. Doing so will make your writing more powerful and precise. Look out for flowery language, excessive adjectives, and lengthy sentences.

When editing, make sure to remove cliches from your writing. These are words and phrases that have been overused in speech and writing. These include phrases like “all walks of life,” “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Try sharing more personal anecdotes and collective memories than tired pieces of advice. This will make the speech more interesting and customized for the audience. Find out what your fellow high school graduates and the rest of the audience want to hear and know, then write it concisely and effectively.

Once you’re done fixing clarity issues, it’s time to fix structural errors. Perform several edits on your speech to remove all spelling and grammar mistakes.

Practice Your High School Graduation Speech

There’s no exact formula for the perfect valedictorian or commencement speech. But if you follow my tips and examples and speak from the heart, your fellow graduates will live by your words as they go about their futures.

Remember to keep your engaging speech positive and inspiring. Recall memories from high school, then make them look forward to creating new ones in their careers or college.

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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.

Do you need a good graduation speech but have no time to write?  The experts of SpeechPaths have written hundreds of student speeches and can prepare a great inspiring text for your graduation day. You will receive a 100% original graduation speech written according to your requirements. Plus, we offer unlimited free revisions until you are satisfied! Email us today to get a free quote and a 20% special student discount.

High school graduation speech example

Source:  https://www.sampletemplates.com/business-templates/graduation-speech-example-template.html

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. 

Be concise 

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! 

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High School Graduation Speech Samples

Kelly has more than 12 years experience as a professional writer and editor.

Learn about our Editorial Policy .

Writing a speech for a high school graduation is a big responsibility, and the task can be a little intimidating. With a few tips and some sample graduation speeches to look at, you could quickly be on your way to writing a very engaging speech of your own.

Sample Speeches for High School Graduation

The following speeches are samples meant to help inspire your own creativity. You can click to download them and edit for your own use. If you like the style or sentiment of a particular speech, think of how it applies to your own high school experience, and use that as the basis for an original speech of your own. If you have any trouble downloading, please review the troubleshooting guide .

  • Graduation Mottos & Slogans to Celebrate Your Class
  • Graduation Announcement Wording Examples & Ideas

Sample One: How We'll Measure These Years

The first sample is a speech that talks about how things have changed over the high school years.

Sample Two: The Future Is in Our Hands

The second example focuses more on what the future holds for a high school graduate.

Sample Three: A Debt of Gratitude

The third sample is about giving thanks and recognizing those who have helped everyone successfully graduate from high school.

Sample Four: Inspirational Moments for Life

This last sample speech is an inspirational high school graduation speech that asks each student to look back on some of the moments from high school that will inspire them forever.

Example of a Humorous Valedictorian Speech

The following video offers a great example of a graduation speech that really speaks to the graduates while being humorous, appropriate and entertaining. If you have a natural gift for humor, a funny speech like this will be remembered long after other graduation memories have begun to fade.

Tips for Writing a Graduation Speech

Whether you're writing a speech for your homeschool graduation, as the class Valedictorian, or a graduation thank you speech , there are a few tips for speech writing that can make your talk meaningful and memorable.

Know Your Audience

Even though parents, faculty, and members of the community will be on hand, the focus of your speech should be your classmates. Speak to them!

Grab Their Attention

A good speech grabs the audience's attention and never lets that attention go. Start off with an attention grabbing question, or make a strong statement that provokes curiosity about where the speech is going. Don't be afraid to use humor in your speech. Having a theme for the speech is also helpful.

Tell Stories

Don't just read your speech. Tell your speech by interspersing emotional stories that tug at the heartstrings or inspire positive actions for the future. You might even want to include an original poem to help express your feelings.

Include Everyone

Don't just speak to the academic achievers, the sports stars, or the popular crowd. Your topic should be all inclusive of your graduating class.

Keep It Short, But Not Too Short

Knowing how long a high school graduation speech should be is important before you start writing. Student speeches at high school graduations are generally between five and 10 minutes long, but closer to five is ideal.

End With a Memorable Message

High school graduation speeches by students and special guests often end with a memorable, and actionable sentence that encourages the audience to do something great. It is customary to end by saying "Thank you" in your graduation speech , which you can do after your memorable one-liner.

Don't Wear Out Your Welcome

A really great commencement speech is enjoyed, not simply endured. Put some serious thought into your speech, say something meaningful, and stick to your topic so your message doesn't get lost. Above all, don't talk too long. Remember that everyone wants to receive their diplomas, shed those caps and gowns , and get on with the celebration.

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Frantically Speaking

Writing an Unforgettable Graduation Speech

  • Public Speaking , Speech Writing

Students celebrating their graduation

Graduation from school, college, or university is an occasion for a solemn event, farewell speeches of thanks from teachers to students, and vice versa. Graduates are preparing beautiful words to express gratitude to teachers and educational institutions. We have prepared to touch, sweet, solemn speeches. Choose which option is suitable to express respect and gratitude during graduation.

In order for the graduate’s speech (oath or promise) to sound perfect in front of the audience at the prom, you should prepare in advance, choose beautiful words and train in front of the mirror. But if graduates don’t have enough time to write a speech, they use  speech writing services . They offer the most beautiful, kind speeches, which you can use as samples. 

How to prepare a graduation speech: useful tips for graduates

Obviously, each graduate will not have time to speak, so we advise you to choose several speakers who are ready to speak on behalf of the whole class. How to choose a speaker? You should definitely do it not according to the grades, height, or timbre of the voice (although this matters). 

The main thing is that the speaker must be charismatic, open, artistic, and self-confident. Such a graduate will draw attention to themselves and their words much more than a shy, constantly blushing person.

The text is read by the one who can really handle it. It remains to choose such a person in the class, give them a speech and conduct several rehearsals to make sure that they speak without hesitation, with the correct intonations and pauses.

Pay attention to the  speaker’s diction . It is important that with intonations, they convey to the addressees the warmth of the moment because we are talking about an important event, the graduation speech, in which they will talk about the whole class, about what each student would like to say personally to teachers, parents, classmates.

Make sure that the speech has an introduction, a main part, and a conclusion. If you want to be sure that your speech will have a proper structure, get help. You can use a  college paper writing service . A writer will write you a speech with a good structure. 

“To this day, each of the students walked for many years, some with apprehension, some with impatience. Today we stand before you and take stock of the ups and downs. Joy in the hearts is adjacent to the sadness of farewell. Please accept my sincere gratitude for your patience, kindness, and sensitivity!”

“On behalf of the graduates, I thank you for your hard work, attention to each of us, and invaluable advice! I wish you health, success in hard work, and prosperity!”

“Classmates entrusted me with a speech of thanks, expressing our respect and love. Forgive us past pranks, do not hold a grudge, remember us as we are now – young, perky, beautiful, and smiling!”

“On behalf of all graduates, I thank you for your sensitivity, wisdom, and kindness. You have put in the heart of every student the desire for knowledge, as well as respect for elders and diligence. We won’t let you down!”

“Thanks to you, the school has become a second home for us. In addition to knowledge, we received life lessons, valuable recommendations, and practical advice. You taught us not only to solve school problems and make speeches but to transfer skills to real life.”

“On behalf of all graduates, I thank you for the knowledge, work, and part of your heart invested in us. We will keep the bright moments; we will capture the lessons learned into adulthood. We promise not to forget what we were taught!”

“Allow me to express what is in the heart of each of the graduates. Thank you for the wise words that made worthy people out of us. People who are ready to immediately go out into life after graduation. Our eyes and hearts are open to new challenges, and knowledge and speech are enough to face them boldly and emerge victorious!”

“On behalf of all the students, I congratulate you on the graduation of such worthy people! Forgive them that sometimes they were mistaken, capricious, and did not listen to wise speeches. We will remember your lessons of kindness and forgiveness, and in the future, we will only delight you with achievements!”

“At the graduation party, I cannot but express to you our endless gratitude for your work, patience, and diligence. Strict but fair, you led us through the most difficult years; put not only knowledge into inexperienced heads but also a part of the soul in everyone’s heart!”

“Each of the students on this day would like to give you a speech of appreciation. We thank you not only for the knowledge gained but for your human treatment, kindness, and patience. We thank you for your responsiveness and sleepless nights – low bow!”

“I want to thank the teachers on behalf of all the students for accepting us as we are; they tried their best to devote time to everyone, to set us on the right path with their speech. We will keep warm memories of wonderful years!”


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Statement from President Joe   Biden on Today’s Deadly Gun   Violence

The Super Bowl is the most unifying event in America. Nothing brings more of us together. And the celebration of a Super Bowl win is a moment that brings a joy that can’t be matched to the winning team and their supporters. For this joy to be turned to tragedy today in Kansas City cuts deep in the American soul.

Today’s events should move us, shock us, shame us into acting. What are we waiting for? What else do we need to see? How many more families need to be torn apart?

It is time to act. That’s where I stand. And I ask the country to stand with me. To make your voice heard in Congress so we finally act to ban assault weapons, to limit high-capacity magazines, strengthen background checks, keep guns out of the hands of those who have no business owning them or handling them.

We know what we have to do, we just need the courage to do it.

Today, on a day that marks six years since the Parkland shooting, we learned that three police officers were shot in the line of duty in Washington, DC and another school shooting took place at Benjamin Mays High School in Atlanta.  Yesterday marked one year since the shooting at Michigan State University. We’ve now had more mass shootings in 2024 than there have been days in the year.

The epidemic of gun violence is ripping apart families and communities every day. Some make the news. Much of it doesn’t. But all of it is unacceptable. We have to decide who we are as a country. For me, we’re a country where people should have the right to go to school, to go to church, to walk the street — and to attend a Super Bowl celebration — without fear of losing your life to gun violence.

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    Graduation Speech Examples for Students 5. Graduation Speech Ideas - 2023 6. Graduation Speech Writing Tips What is a Graduation Speech? A graduation speech is the heart of your big day, bringing together all your experiences and achievements.

  3. Graduation Speech Examples That Impart Life Lessons

    1 Oprah Winfrey (Stanford, 2008) "In order to be truly happy, you must live along with and you have to stand for something larger than yourself. Because life is a reciprocal exchange. To move forward you have to give back. And to me, that is the greatest lesson of life. To be happy, you have to give something back."

  4. This writer analyzed 100 graduation speeches

    1. Dream big "I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. I know that sounds completely nuts. But, since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. There are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name.

  5. 10 Steps To Writing A Graduation Speech

    1. Pick a theme. If you want the audience to feel moved and inspired by your speech (Who doesn't, right?), then it helps to build your speech around a central theme or message. Think about what's important to you as the speaker and what you'd like others to take away from your words.

  6. Writing a Graduation Speech is Easier Than You Think

    Thank the principal/dean for the invitation to speak. Next, thank the administration. Then, thank the faculty. Thank the parents and distinguished alumni. And, finally, thank the class of [year]. Many speakers will add in a little humor here by poking fun at the typical words used in this thanks.

  7. How To Write A Graduation Speech: 12 Practical Tips

    Tip #1: Read Inspirational Quotes Reading inspirational quotes is a great way to start brainstorming graduation speech ideas. The best quotes can pack a whole speech into only a sentence or two. Here are a few examples to get the fire of inspiration started:

  8. How To Write a Graduation Speech

    Congratulations After you have written a draft, ask a teacher, friend or family member to give you feedback about what to keep and what to cut. Remember to be sensitive that there are many different paths after graduation. Some graduates may attend college. Others may not.

  9. Writing a Winning Graduation Speech: Outline and Tips

    1. Thank the Previous Speaker Begin with gratitude and grace: Be sure to thank the person who introduced you, both for the introduction and the work they do with the school. 2. Introduce Yourself Don't assume that all the people in the room know who you are. Introduce yourself, including your name and why you were chosen to give the speech. 3.

  10. 6 tips to write a great graduation speech (with examples)

    English Learn how to write a great graduation speech with our six tips and tons of examples.

  11. Graduation Speech [20 Examples + Template]

    1. Funny Valedictorian Speech This valedictorian entertains the audience of his high school graduation speech with subtle, kind-hearted jokes that reflect the graduating class and the school faculty. The graduation speaker has a sentimental theme to his speech, but his light humor ensures that the presentation is both meaningful and memorable.

  12. How to write a great graduation speech

    5. Keep it short. Unless you are a national leader using the speech to announce a major policy, you won't need more than 20 minutes, tops. Twelve minutes would be even better. The average speaker reads about 120 words a minute, so that's about 1,400-2,400 words or 9-15 pages (double spaced, 16 point font).

  13. 3 Ways to Write a Graduation Speech

    If you want communicate effectively, try slowing down your speech. This might mean you will have less time to say what you want to say. 4. Find out if there are other rules for graduation speeches. As a rule, do not curse in your speech, and be careful about the anecdotes you decide to tell.

  14. Graduation Speech Ideas (18 Outline Examples)

    Graduation Speech by Principal Sample 01 The Brick Tower Graduation Speech Sample Graduation Speech by Principal Sample 02 Graduation Speech by Chancellor Sample Graduation Speech for Summer Batch Sample Graduation Speech by Assistant Secretary Sample Graduation Speech by Head of School Sample Graduation Speech by Vice-Chancellor Sample

  15. Graduation Speeches: Speeches You Give in Pointy Hats

    Lynn Meade Graduation is a big day for graduates, their families, and teachers. If you are called to give a graduation speech, you want to make it special. I want to share with you what makes a good graduation speech and give you tips on how to write one that will make an impact. As we begin, you need to wrap your mind around two main things:

  16. 29 Best Graduation Speech Ideas & Examples ᐅ DocFormats

    Education 29 Best Graduation Speech Ideas & Examples Upon graduating from middle school, high school, or college, you could be called upon to address your teachers, peers, and their friends and relatives. It is not always easy to advise a room full of people but, with enough preparation, you can deliver a memorable graduation speech.

  17. 16 Best Graduation Speeches That Leave a Lasting Impression

    Here, we rounded up up 16 of the best graduation speeches of all time, including words of wisdom from Natalie Portman, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and more. 1. Steve Jobs: Stanford, 2005 ...

  18. Student Graduation Speech

    Personal Introduction: Briefly introduce yourself. Acknowledgment of the Occasion: Express the significance of the graduation day. Body Reflections on the Journey: Share memorable experiences and lessons learned during school years.

  19. How to Write a High School Graduation Speech (+ Examples)

    Introduction Thank people for attending. Acknowledge the presence of your teachers, parents, and fellow graduates. Introduce yourself. Not everyone in the room knows you, even if you're the class valedictorian. Catch the audience's attention by sharing a motivational quote or saying.

  20. A-Z Guide on Writing a Breathtaking Graduation Speech

    1. Start by expressing gratitude. When you are invited to the podium for delivering your speech, always remember to commence it by giving a note of gratitude to the previous speaker who introduced you, for the introduction as well as for the work they perform at the school or university. 2.

  21. Sample Highschool Graduation Speeches & Tips

    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 ...

  22. High School Graduation Speech Samples

    Writing a speech for a high school graduation is a big responsibility, and the task can be a little intimidating. With a few tips and some sample graduation speeches to look at, you could quickly be on your way to writing a very engaging speech of your own.

  23. Writing an Unforgettable Graduation Speech

    In order for the graduate's speech (oath or promise) to sound perfect in front of the audience at the prom, you should prepare in advance, choose beautiful words and train in front of the mirror.But if graduates don't have enough time to write a speech, they use speech writing services. They offer the most beautiful, kind speeches, which you can use as samples.

  24. Statement from President Joe Biden on Today's Deadly Gun Violence

    Biden on Today's Deadly Gun. Violence. The Super Bowl is the most unifying event in America. Nothing brings more of us together. And the celebration of a Super Bowl win is a moment that brings a ...