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how to write a speech for graduation

How to Write a Graduation Speech

Celebrate high school memories. inspire your grad community..

It’s an incredible honor to be chosen to speak to your classmates at your graduation ceremony. Still, we know writing a graduation speech can be nerve-wracking. That’s why we’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you create a speech that will not only touch, entertain and inspire your entire graduation community but also celebrate high school memories and traditions.

STEP 1: Choose your theme

Whether you decide to relive high school memories, offer advice to your classmates, reflect on the future, or give thanks to those who have helped you, it can be tough to decide on the right theme for your speech. That’s why we’ve reviewed hundreds of the best student speeches to help you get started.

You can stick to one theme or combine several. You can also add quotations from famous people and writers to support your message. Whichever option you choose when you are writing a graduation speech, be sure to coordinate with your fellow presenters to guarantee that each of you is offering a unique perspective.

Here are some of the most powerful themes from successful graduation speeches:

  • Paths through life
  • Overcoming obstacles
  • Classmates as individuals
  • Friends and friendship
  • Looking back to the early years
  • Memories of high school
  • Making a Difference
  • Congratulations 

Step 2: Edit

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. Also be aware of how different cultures and heritages within your student body view graduation.

This step is also your chance to take out any inappropriate content, including:

  • Insults to individuals or groups
  • Racial or ethnic jokes
  • Sexual innuendos
  • False information
  • Anything that you are worried about including. If it makes you hesitate, delete it.

Step 3: Choose Your Visuals

Visuals can provide excellent support to your speech and help create even more of an emotional connection. If you use images to support your message remember to:


Finish Writing First.

And then look for images to support your message. Never write your speech around an image just because you really like it and want to use it.

Student in cap and gown

Add Photos.

Include as many of your classmates as possible, not just you and your close friends. Never use images that are embarrassing to audience members.

Group of graduates

Create A Slideshow.

Will you operate the slideshow from the podium or will someone else? If you are working with another person, practice several times together.

Step 4: Rehearse

Rehearse frequently and out loud so that you internalize your message. Understand why you are speaking the words you have chosen and repeat them in rehearsal until you feel the essence of your message in your gut.

If you go blank during your speech, don’t panic. Instead, focus your eyes on one person in the audience, which will make it look as though you are being forceful and dramatic. Pause for about four seconds before focusing on someone else. Repeat until you have collected your thoughts.

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How to Write a Graduation Speech to Make Everyone Listen

Challenging as it sounds, creating a fancy graduation speech is a pretty time-consuming and rigorous process. When you set out to develop a one-of-a-kind speech to remember, be sure to tackle this work of art with exceptional dedication and enthusiasm. What is a graduation speech, then? In plain terms, a graduation speech is a speech delivered to graduating students and is intended to inspire them as well as encourage their future endeavors.

how to write a graduation speech

Normally, the one giving a speech is a famous alumnus of the school, eager to share their knowledge and wisdom with the young and ambitious audience. Therefore, in order to write a great graduation speech, you need to be consistent, open and sincere. These are the vital features of earning the attention and admiration on the part of the listeners.

So, How to Write a Speech for Graduation Ceremony?

Not so long ago, you pledged to write a cool commencement address. And now you confront Google, asking it “How to write a great graduation speech?” Or this one: “How to write a commencement speech for high school graduation?”

To be fully equipped to write an impactful graduation speech, you have to be familiar with some time-proven cornerstones that will aid you in developing your commencement address. So, here we are.

Graduation Speech Writing Tips

  • Know your audience

Having a strong grasp of your target audience is one of the crucial aspects of how to write a good graduation speech. Try to relate to your audience and connect with it, imagine being in their shoes!

  • Tell stories

As any psychology resource would suggest, most people are into listening to stories. Give your audience a good portion of a blithe, yet meaningful, account of an iconic figure’s path to success, as this can add to the intensity of your speech. Always thirsty to hear another success story, the audience will definitely love your creative input.

  • Make it short

Lengthy speeches tend to bore the audience, as they feature rather superfluous content. For instance, if you ever googled something like “How to write a graduation speech for high school,” you must have noticed that none of the online resources you find recommend including some specific profession-oriented tips in your speech. Instead, you are advised to make your writing as brief as possible, as the teen-spirited audience likes it short and fast. Same with other types of commencement speeches – much like self-driven teens, other people are also likely to perceive information far easier and faster if it’s short and succinct.

  • Give way to your emotions

Making your speech emotional will help it become more compelling and seem more natural. Don’t be scared to experiment with your writing, using idiosyncratic language like “my cuties,” “I’m a lucky dude,” “helluva,” etc.

Graduation Speech Writing Steps

  • First of all, you should begin your speech with a salutation, such as “Dear students” or “Dear graduates.”
  • Try to set the tone of voice of your speech. Think about what mood should prevail there and what general message it will deliver.
  • Now, you can move on to choosing the theme of your speech. Sticking to one common theme will help you unify your ideas so that your speech sounds coherent and comprehensive. This also prevents you from including unnecessary information and facts in your writing.
  • Plan your speech. There’s a military saying about making plans: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Thinking through the structure of your speech helps to organize it as well as make it orderly. Even if you think you know for sure how to write a graduation speech for elementary school (well, it’s nine-year-olds, so this must be so easy!) do take some time to plan your address. Self-confidence is okay, but not when it comes to speaking in front of hundreds of fidgety kids and their stuck-up parents.

Graduation Speech Example Analysis

Here you can find an analysis of a graduation speech. The analysis provides an evaluation of the speech, including comments on its content and structure. Check out the picture below.

Click the images to see their full size.

how to write a good graduation speech

In a Nutshell

Now that this guide has brought you closer to the art of writing a graduation speech, creating one will take you half as much time than it would without these crucial tips and suggestions. Each task, be it computer coding or writing a graduation speech, requires only two basic things: willingness and commitment. Once you have no problems with those, then developing an outstanding commencement address will be a sheer pleasure for you.

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31 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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6 Secrets to Writing a Memorable Graduation Speech, Even If You've Never Done It Before

If you're facing writer's block, get inspired by these essential graduation speech ideas.

Nora Horvath is an editor and writer with nearly a decade of experience covering lifestyle. Highlights: * Editorial intern at Prevention * Assistant editor at Real Simple * Associate features editor at Food Network Magazine and The Pioneer Woman Magazine * Senior editor at Weber Shandwick

how to write a speech for graduation

Maggie Seaver is the digital health and wellness editor at Real Simple, with seven years of experience writing lifestyle and wellness content. She spends her days writing and editing stories about sleep, mental health, fitness, preventive health, nutrition, personal development, relationships, healthy habits, and beyond. She loves demystifying complicated health topics, debunking wellness fads, and sharing practical, science-backed solutions for healthy living.

how to write a speech for graduation

It's not easy to give advice to your peers, and it's even harder to do it in front of a room full of their friends and relatives at college graduation (or high school, middle school, or elementary school, for that matter). Whether you were chosen to speak at the commencement podium because of your top-of-class grades or were elected class speaker because of your charisma, there are probably countless memories, tidbits of wisdom, and funny one-liners you want to include. And after what seems like 100 other speakers, you want to grab people's attention—not put them to sleep.

Since you're also graduating, you don't need to use this time to answer all of life's existential questions, although you might feel like trying. After all, you're still figuring it out yourself. Instead, talk about what you know, reflect on the big memories you share with your fellow classmates, and use our tips below to write the most memorable speech of the day.

Gather Inspiration

Before you start writing, find inspiration from some of the most memorable high school and college graduation speeches in history. NPR put together a database of over 350 speeches , categorized by message, school, and speaker's name, so it's the perfect resource for graduation speech ideas about where to start. (If you're looking for something unconventional, try watching David McCullough Jr.'s speech from Wellesley High School in 2012.) And don't forget about celebrities you love: read through the most encouraging quotes from famous graduation speeches to spark inspiration for your own address.

Give It Structure

All engaging stories have a beginning, middle, and end—think of your graduation speech the same way. Be thoughtful about how you open your speech to grab people's attention, how you plan to keep their attention throughout, and finally, how you'll tie it all together with a neat, closing message. Giving a speech structure won't make it boring or formulaic—it'll make it easier for your audience to follow (and for you to deliver it).

Stick With a Theme

If you're trying to string together a bunch of quotes that have nothing to do with one another, you're going to confuse your audience more than inspire them. Find one core message or a theme that really resonates, and build the rest of your graduation speech around it.

Keep It Short

There's nothing worse then sitting in a hot auditorium or tent outside while listening to someone ramble on endlessly. At most, people will remember one funny joke, a great anecdote, or the general message, so cut out extra fluff and only include the parts you think are the most important.

Practice Out Loud (and Often)

As Richard T. Jones showed us in his infamous speech at University of Maryland University College in 2011, improvisation is not the way to go when you're supposed to be giving people advice on one of the most important days of their lives. Make sure you actually write a speech—and practice it out loud—so you don't end up repeating the same idea over and over again.

Infuse Your Personality

In 2016, Harvard University graduate Donovan Livingston did his commencement speech in spoken-word poetry , an interest of his. Though his message touched on common grad themes—the power of education in the world, following your passions with your degree, and reaching for the stars—his delivery also changed the way people heard these ideas. Not all speeches need to be straight-forward and full of classic Robert Frost quotes. If you highlight your strengths and talk about things that make you excited—in other words, if you be yourself—people will listen.

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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

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40+ Graduation Speech Ideas and Tips

Written by  Shutterfly Community Last Updated: Aug 14, 2020

Graduations and commencements ceremonies mark major transitional moments in your life. They celebrate all the hard work you put into your education and achievements, and look forward to the future. Through the years of school, you’ve made new friends, developed new skills, and discovered new things about yourself. And it can be extremely difficult to summarize these experiences into a single graduation speech. How do you explain how much the experience meant to you? How do you properly send off all your incredible peers? Don’t worry– we’re here to help you craft that perfect graduation speech. When you’re ready to put pen the paper, look to our graduation speech ideas below.

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The process on writing a graduation speech, graduation speech themes, commencement speech ideas and tips.

Even if you love to write, or have a lot you want to say–writer’s block is a common obstacle when it comes to speech writing. The best way to beat it? Just start writing. Know that your first draft (or the ten or twenty after that) doesn’t have to be perfect, or even very good. Just start writing all your thoughts down and eventually your speech will start to take shape. For specific guidance on speech writing, look to the steps below.

male valedictorian speaking at graduation

How To Start A Graduation Speech

Ready to start writing? Do your best to follow the guidelines below:

  • Find all the inspiration you can. Search for and save your favorite graduation speeches, look for the perfect quotes , and try to determine the key themes to what inspires you.
  • Pick a theme. Once you’ve found all your inspiration sources and come up with a general idea of what you want to talk about, make a list of key themes. Circle the one most important to you.
  • Write down your favorite quotes and messages, and start planning where in your speech you want them to appear.
  • Start off by introducing yourself. Not sure what to say? Use the graduation speech introduction examples below.

Graduation Speech Introductions Examples

  • “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 have 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.”

How To Write A Graduation Speech

Once you’ve reached the body of your speech, consider keeping the tips below in mind:

  • Take time to write out things you want to cover. Don’t edit yet, just write. Try to stay as undistracted as possible while doing this step.
  • Take stock of your key messages and favorite phrases. Save these. Consider highlighting them to keep track.
  • When in doubt, tell a story. Talk about your personal experiences and relate them to the whole class.
  • Check out our graduation messages and wishes for special messages you might want to include.
  • Once you’ve exhausted everything you want to say, take a break. Don’t edit until at least 24 hours later.
  • Cut down everything that you don’t absolutely love. As painful as it might be to cut down your work, it’ll pay off in the long run.
  • Connect the dots, but stay concise and to the point. Keep it simple.
  • Repetition of key points can help your peers remember more of your speech.

How To End A Graduation Speech

Once you’re ready to end your speech, use these guidelines to find a memorable ending.

  • End with something memorable that ties it all together. This may be a quotes, repetition of your central message, or just a fun send off.
  • Start to edit. Cut it down. Then cut it down again.
  • If appropriate, consider closing with one of these graduation bible verses .
  • Have someone edit your speech for you. A fresh pair of eyes makes a world of difference when it comes to editing.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Even if you have great presentation skills, only practice makes perfect!

Grad makes a speech in her graduation ceremony.

Looking for the perfect graduation speech theme to tie it all together? Then check out our favorite funny, creative, and general themes for graduation speeches below:

Funny Graduation Speech Ideas

  • Touch on Current (School) Events: A lot can happen in four years. Take the opportunity to reflect on past school happenings like beating your rival school, an accidental mishap in one of the science labs, or a senior prank. The students will surely love it.
  • Turn Humility to Wisdom: Mistakes turn into lessons learned, and humility can help you turn funny and embarrassing stories into wisdom for the ages. Share them with your peers.
  • Insta-Worthy: Find inspiration for our funny graduation captions to use for your graduation speech.
  • Make it a Classic: Use the classic, hilarious quotes from our graduation quotes and sayings resource to keep your speech lighthearted and fun.

Creative Graduation Speech Ideas

  • Step Out of Tradition: Step away from the traditional grad speech format. Try something like spoken word poetry, or using unique patterns and metaphors in your speech.
  • Tell a Unique Story: We’re always ready to listen to new and interesting stories. What makes your experience so unique? What lesson has it taught you?
  • Children’s Book Inspired: Use the classic children’s book quotes we’ve found for you to inspire a nostalgia filled grad speech.
  • A Class Anthem: Use lyrics from a special graduation song to inspire a full speech, and connect back to the song for a theme your peers will love.

Class President Graduation Speech Ideas

  • Never Give Up: Inspire your class to always keep striving for their goals by utilizing our words of encouragement .
  • A Thankful Class: Take the chance of delivering the graduation speech to thank everyone who helped make it happen. Feel free to browse our gratitude quotes and appreciation quotes for help.
  • Inspire Them Until the End: Center your commencement speech around a key inspirational idea or message. Visit our resource on inspirational quotes about life for help finding one.

Graduate Gives Speech In Auditorium

Want a few final tips and tricks for making your graduation speech extra special? We’ve got you covered. Look to our advice below:

High School Graduation Speech Ideas

  • Look to the future. Talk about the multitude of opportunities and possibilities your class has.
  • Thank your teachers and parents. You can never thank the adults in your life enough for supporting and helping you all these years.
  • Recall class memories. Nostalgia is a powerful tool that when used well can make a speech more memorable.
  • Try not to rely on pop culture references. Pop culture fads come and go, and using them in your speech might mean it won’t age very well.
  • Ask yourself: what makes this class unique? If you have an answer, feel free to share it.
  • Is there anything you want to say but can’t fit it into your speech? If so, you may know exactly what to write in your yearbook for friends and classmates.

8th Grade Graduation Speech Ideas

  • Focus on the positive. Even if not everything was always perfect in your school experience, it’s important to focus on the positive during a graduation speech.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Long speeches typically mean not everyone will be able to pay attention. Keep it short and to the point.
  • Remember to be inclusive. Talk about things that all of your peers can relate to, not just individual groups.

Elementary Graduation Speech Ideas

  • Keep it short and simple.
  • Use a lighthearted tone- Don’t try to make it too sentimental. Keeping the kids happy means the ceremony will go smoother.
  • Give examples and short stories from the year. Elementary students usually connect to stories well and this will help keep their attention.
  • Remember kids love to laugh. A joke here and there might be the perfect touch.
  • If you’re helping a student write a speech, walk them through it. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but their parents are sure to love it.

female valedictorian giving speechat convocation

Resources Related to Graduation Speech Ideas

If you liked this resource on graduation speech ideas and you’re looking for similar content, make sure to check out our related graduation resources.

  • Graduation Gifts
  • Graduation Announcements
  • What Happens During a Graduation Ceremony?
  • Graduation Announcement Wording Ideas
  • Graduation Cap Ideas
  • Ideas for a Graduation Party

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