Delivering a graduation speech is a great honor. So, congratulations if you have been selected as a valedictorian speaker. Here are a few graduation speeches you can draw inspiration from.
Graduation can be one of the most memorable moments in a person’s life. It is a moment when you celebrate your accomplishments with your peers. The graduation ceremony is a melange of emotions, along with pride and satisfaction there is this anxiety about future and a sinking feeling about bidding farewell to friends and alma mater. If you are a valedictorian or a salutatorian, then you also have to deal with the nervousness of delivering a graduation speech. Speeches by luminaries and students are often the most important part of a graduation ceremony.
Graduation Speech Ideas
Oftentimes, graduation speeches are tremendously boring as the new graduates are rarely proficient orators. Since, these speakers are often students excelling in academics, they may not be always great writers or rhetoricians. However, if you avoid unsurprising cliches and the common drab topics, you can indeed make your graduation speech interesting. You can draw inspiration from commencement speeches delivered by eminent personalities on graduation. Add personal touches to your speech by narrating funny anecdotes or exemplary achievements of your class during graduation years. You may also express your views regarding the current affairs or political situation.
Delivering inspirational quotes is a good idea, but again avoid cliches. Brevity is the most important factor to be considered while delivering graduation speeches. Since, audience would be most interested in the commencement speech, it would make sense to keep your speech short and sweet. Remember, it is your personal experience and genuine feelings about your school, friends that will keep your audience captivated and not some heavy duty stuff, loaded with social, political jargon. Graduation party speeches can be a bit playful and informal, but make sure you do not offend anyone with snide remarks in your speech.
Sample Valedictorian Speeches
Good evening honored guests, ladies and gentlemen and the Graduating Class of [year].
Robert Gallagher said that change is inevitable – except from a vending machine. As you stand on the brink of moving into life beyond [name of educational institution], change will be inevitable! It is inevitable and indeed gratifying to see that our Graduating Class of [year] matured and became skills proficient ready to tackle and further their life-long education. It is inevitable that structures and processes and relationships will change in their day-to-day lives. It is inevitable that they will face new challenges and it is inevitable that things may seem a little different in the year ahead. Yes, life is definitely going to become a little ‘shaken up and stirred’.
Good Evening, ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, teachers and administrators. We stand, gathered together to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2001 Class of Mattawan High School. To my fellow classmates, we’ve made it. We’ve finally made it. We are graduating. Congratulations. Congratulations not only to us graduates, but also congratulations to our teachers, parents, friends, families and administrators. Our success is your success, for you have given us the freedom to dare, the courage to excel and the belief that we can achieve our best. Together for the last time, we stand poised at the very edge of graduation, looking towards a bright future. Soon each of us will go forth, in his or her unique direction, seeking to make a mark upon the world. Our adulthood, so long anticipated, has now arrived. We have grown up. We must seize our future and taking it into our own hands, do with it what we will, striving towards excellence.
Excerpts from Valedictorian Speech, Mattawan H.S. 2001
Graduation Commencement Speeches
What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.
– John Kennedy, American University 1963
Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it’s quite true. 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, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary… Stay hungry, stay foolish.
– Steve Jobs, Stanford 2005
Graduation speeches are all about being yourself and expressing your genuine feelings of gratitude towards all those who made your achievement possible for you. So, prepare well and get ready to stir emotions in those with whom you spent the most important years of your life.