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How to Give A High School Graduation Speech

Nidhi Nangia
By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: December 12, 2018
How to Give A High School Graduation Speech

High school graduation is a time when you can formally recognize your academic achievement and, at the same time, look forward to new steps you are going to take in life. Do you have to make a speech at graduation and don't know where to start? Remember, this speech that you will deliver must be both memorable and meaningful. In some ways this can be complicated and/or nerve racking, therefore we are here to help you. Not only do you have to address and thank all who helped you achieve this status, including your parents, but we suggest adding; quotes, jokes and even advice.

If you want to know more about how to give a high school graduation speech, you have come to the right place. Take a look at this oneHOWTO article for more tips and suggestions for you final graduation speech!

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  1. Structure of a Good High School Graduation Speech
  2. How to deliver a good speech
  3. Things to Consider While writing a Speech
  4. High school graduation songs

Structure of a Good High School Graduation Speech

Here is an ideal structure of a high school graduation speech:

  • Greeting to the audience: Greeting your audience is a great way to begin your graduation speech. This should include not only your teachers, principal and the administrators, but also your classmates, parents and family members. You can start with something like “Good morning Principal Thomas, staff, teachers, my family, and my graduating class.”
  • Introduce yourself: Although your teachers and classmates already know you, some members in the audience don’t. A good intro would include an explanation of who you are, for example; “My name is Claire Parsons, and it’s an honor to speak at this graduation ceremony.” Try to include everyone in the audience, including teachers, fellow graduates and family members. If you manage to keep all the audience members entertained, chances are high for a desired reaction. Also, remember, you don't want people to start falling asleep in during your speech, so keep it; short, entertaining and straight to the point!
  • Reflection of your memories in school: Take time and look back at the years you spent in school. You can start by talking about your first day at school, your feelings on that day, and how you have evolved over all these years. You may talk about the lessons you have learnt, and lifelong relationships you have made here. We also recommend telling stories that include other people in the audience. By adding other people to your stories it allows for the audience to feel more engaged. It is important, even if you tell a personal story, that it has a theme, lesson or point which can be relatable to many!
  • Memory of some memorable moments: Did your class arrange a major event in school? Do you remember some memorable moments from an out-of-station trip with your classmates and teachers? Did you achieve something notable in academics or athletics at school? Like we already mentioned before, the more people you can include the more your audience will feel included.
  • An insight into the future: After looking back in time and talking about the good times you have spent and good things you and your classmate have learnt in school, start talking about the future and all of its possibilities. Many people finishing high school are nervous to leave, mention this, it will bring everyone comfort knowing that everyone is experiencing similar fears and doubts! But after this, bring it back to the theme of positivity, reminding everyone about how exciting this opportunity is.
  • A thank note to everyone: Thank everyone who helped in making your high school experience a great one. Before you end your speech, take a few seconds to thank everyone, including your: teachers, the school staff, principal, parents and classmates. You may say something similar to: "I would like to thank Principal Thomas, the staff, teachers, and, my parents for a wonderful experience at school. Without your guidance and support, I would not be where I am today. I would also like to thank my fellow classmates for making high school such a fun and memorable experience.”
  • Conclusion: This is perhaps the toughest part to write in your high school graduation speech. We recommend ending your speech off with something memorable and meaningful, this can be with a; quote, joke or advice. After this, wish everyone luck, specifically your classmates!
How to Give A High School Graduation Speech - Structure of a Good High School Graduation Speech

How to deliver a good speech

No matter how good your speech is, it won’t make the impact you wish for if you fail to deliver it nicely. Take a look at our tips on how to deliver a good speech!

  1. Practice, practice, practice! Do not go onto stage without going over your speech at least 5-10 times.Practicing will help in remembering your speech. By remembering and recognizing the speech, it will make you feel more comfortable with the words, in turn, easing your nerves. Practice in front of your family members so that you get accustomed to delivering the speech in front of an audience.
  2. Most people when delivering a speech, become nervous and therefore end up talking faster than usual. Focus on speaking slowly and calmly, and do not forget to breathe! We recommend timing your speech when you are practicing: this will give you an idea on how long your speech will take.
  3. Before going to the stage and delivering your speech, drink a glass full of water. Your mouth may become dry because of nerves. Drinking water will help your mouth feel less dry while you deliver your speech.
  4. Whatever you do, do not stare down at your paper. It is very important that you make eye contact with your audience! Eye contact will engage and entertain your audience. Practicing your speech will help you memorize your words and text. This will then allow you to look up from your paper from time to time without losing your place.
  5. While delivering the speech, stand up straight and be confident. If you genuinely mean what you are saying, your audience will automatically be able to connect with you more easily. This connection will ensure for a more engaged audience. Stumbling on a couple of words is fine, after all, we are only human. If this happens, do not panic! Take a deep breath, and start from where you left off.
How to Give A High School Graduation Speech - How to deliver a good speech

Things to Consider While writing a Speech

Take a look at these extra tips on what to consider when writing a good graduation speech;

  • Since you are talking on behalf of your class, avoid using personal words like I and me. Instead, focus on the pronouns: us, we and our instead. While talking about your classmates, include everyone! Do not only include your best friends or high achievers, as they often only take up a minority of the audience.
  • Make your speech positive, and don’t include any negative experiences you had in the school. Everyone has negative things to say, but you need to make your speech inspiring and positive. An affirmative speech will draw attention of your audience and you will be able to make your point more efficiently.
  • You can keep your audience’s attention by keeping your speech well-organized and enthusiastic. It should review the past, but also celebrate your actual graduation day. You should also say something that suggests that you are looking forward to your see what the future has in store for you.
  • You may elevate the speech by incorporating a couple of jokes. This will lighten the atmosphere and introduce an exciting energy in the space. At the same time, avoid making too many jokes. You need to keep a balance between serious and funny. In addition, if you choose to make a joke, make sure that it is appropriate. Avoid anything that may be offensive or rude, even if you think it is funny.
  • Make sure that your speech is no longer than 5-7 minutes. If your speech is 30 minutes long people will most definitely get distracted. Keep it short, simple, entertaining and to the point!
  • You may add a motivational quote to your speech. It can give extra depth and meaning to what you say. It may also inspire your fellow classmates!

High school graduation songs

If you want to add some extra pzazz, you might want to incorporate music. Here are some high school graduation songs which might be useful:

A few classic songs that will make any graduation day complete:

  • "Pomp and Circumstance" by Sir Edgar Elgar
  • "Graduation" by Vitamin C
  • "Graduation Day" by The Beach Boys
  • "We are the Champions" by Queen
  • "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper
  • "Forever Young" by Bob Dylan
  • "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang
  • "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey

Some modern day suggestions for music:

  • "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield
  • "Brave" by Sara Bareilles
  • "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson
  • "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons
  • "No Such Thing" by John Mayer

If you want to really bring on the tears at your high school graduation, these songs will make everyone in the room cry:

  • "Seasons of Love" from the Rent cast
  • "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks
  • "100 Years" by Five for Fighting
  • "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong
  • "The Wind Beneath my Wings" by Bette Midler

If you want to read similar articles to How to Give A High School Graduation Speech, we recommend you visit our Weddings & Parties category.

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How to Give A High School Graduation Speech